Why? -On Remembering the Soldiers that Died in the War-

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One, two, three…
Poppy pins on people’s shirts
Grow day by day,
As we enter November,
The month to remember.

A frosty rainy day,
I silently sit,
My parents driving me to school.
I fix the little red poppy on my shirt,
Pausing to think,
The magnitude of the sacrifice-
The enormity of the freedom and peace,
Soldiers from our land brought to us,
Fought for us.

This car, the seat I’m sitting in,
Heated. Warm.
My parents smile at me,
A wave of goodbye and swift kisses,
Mom and Dad, both alive, happy, and safe.
My father not in the army,
Home would come after school,
Instead of never.
Their love for me, words cannot explain.

My friends at the door, waiting for me.
Friends not screaming for help, or shooting,
Embracing and teasing me.
Friends not corpses, or damaged beyond recognition, separated on the battlefields,

In class, we learn.
About the wars our soldiers fought in, the rules of mathematics, literature, the sciences,
In the place of the knowledge of the enemy nearby, learning at times too late,
Or how to kill a man with one bullet, or with all your might.

The ones you love, and hold dear to your heart, those you long to date with,
They’re there; able to appear by your side,
To talk,
Even to fight.
Not writing a quick letter back to a loved one,
With the chances,
Of never seeing them again.

Teachers, allowing us the truth.
Understanding our talents, yet
Arguing to challenge our weaknesses.
Those teachers that could have been nurses or soldiers,
Being taught the power of fear, doubt, risk, and death.
Or having officers that throw you back in line, even if you’ve just seen your best friend die, teaching you that war is like this.

Food from our lunches,
No rations,
Our own choices.
The ability to be able to say
“No, not that”
Never a “That’s all we get,”
To pick and choose,
Even just to pick.

I’m back in the car,
My clothes, free from mud of the swamps,
Blood from bodies,
But washed from the washing machine,
My feet, with socks and boots that aren’t waterlogged,
Hours and hours of marching,
Hiding.
Running.

My body, free from lice, free from dirt.
My mind, thriving and deep in thought.

My heart, it remembers.





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