The Soldier

I am watching fireworks on the 4th of July

when I think of you,

soldier.

We met once in an airport.

I, headed home to family

 and a BBQ at a neighbor’s house.

You,

were going off to war.

The pictures you showed me of your

 family were beautiful.

You lingered  tenderly over each dog-eared photo

as you replaced them in your wallet;

and your face

spoke of your sadness in leaving them.

We chatted

about the weather and such,

and just before boarding our respective planes,

we shook hands.

You asked me to not forget you.

Your gaze caught mine for only a moment,

but in your calm steady eyes

I saw every soldier

who had gone to war before you.

I knew with certainty

that I would not

ever 

forget.

The affect our meeting has had on my life

will stay with me always.

Mere words cannot express the gratitude I feel

for your service to our country.

So every day I am mindful

of the liberties I enjoy.

I exercise my freedoms and rights

 knowing somewhere

there is a young mother

forging ahead in raising a soldier’s child

while he risks life and limb for his country.

I pray often for you and yours.

 Whenever I vote,

or disagree publically, whatever

the topic of discussion.

When I express my personality

by wearing some daring fashion,

or even when I get the idea

that I NEED ice cream

in the middle of the night.

I picture you, and give thanks

that I am free to be and to do-

anything my heart desires.

I think it would be nice if you were my neighbor. 

We could share a scoop of rocky road

and talk about the weather, or our kids.

Instead,

you are a thousand miles away

and in harm’s way.

I pray you return to your home soon,

and find satisfaction, peace and happiness

that our country is as you left it.

I want you to know

that no matter the politics,

 no matter what war,

I support you soldier.   

I will strive always

 to show, in thought and deed

that I haven’t forgotten

what freedom means.

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