On this Veteran's Day, I would like to say a huge "Thank You" to those who sacrificed unconditionally so that I can write from my heart freely, I mean, literally...FREELY. Without you and other precious lives like you, I would not be able to express myself in words that flow like a river of emotions from deep within my soul. With the gift of "Freedom of Speech", I scribe these words:
Because of you, I can dance until morning, wear a miniskirt or lipstick, look beautiful and feel beautiful, without fear of reprisal. I can dream of being famous and make that dream come true or I can languish in the comfort of anonymity because your name will be forever etched in History. I can educate myself until I can't contain any more knowledge, useful or otherwise, because you defended my right to do so. I can choose a church or I can choose no church at all, because of your service to a country that was formed with God as her guardian, yet one that offers freedom of religion. I can praise my government or complain about it without fear of retribution because of amendments to the Constitution, written laws that confirm that America is continually evolving, and does so in order to serve each and every one of its citizens. And to those citizens who leave their beloved country to fight for freedom of all who deserve it, I honor you, today and for the rest of my life!
In 1998, I wrote a poem and put it on the Internet without my name attached because I feared that I didn't have the talent to write anything worth reading. But it seems that several websites have included it in their tribute to our veterans and to those who made the ultimate sacrifice. I am honored and flattered, but now, I am claiming my poem, with flaws and all, so that those who served my country, OUR country, will know how much I appreciate every step that you took on foreign soil and every moment that you spend on American soil poised to protect that which I have sometimes taken for granted but will forever be grateful.
In Your Honor
By Brianna Lee McKenzie © 1998
Unselfishly, you left your fathers and your mothers,
You left behind your sisters and your brothers.
Leaving your beloved children and wives,
You put on hold, your dreams your lives.
On foreign soil, you found yourself planted
To fight for those whose freedom you granted.
Without your sacrifice, their cause would be lost
But you carried onward, no matter the cost.
Many horrors you had endured and seen.
Many faces had haunted your dreams.
You cheered as your enemies littered the ground;
You cried as your brothers fell all around.
When it was over, you all came back home,
Some were left with memories to face all alone;
Some found themselves in the company of friends
As their crosses cast shadows across the land.
Those who survived were forever scarred
Emotionally, physically, permanently marred.
Those who did not now sleep eternally
Neath the ground they had given their lives to keep free.
With a hand upon my heart, I feel
The pride and respect; my reverence is revealed
In the tears that now stream down my upturned face
As our flag waves above you, in her glory and grace.
Freedom was the gift that you unselfishly gave
Pain and death was the price that you ultimately paid.
Every day, I give my utmost admirationTo those who had fought to defend our nation.