Monday, November 11, 2013

The Handshake of a Hero

Photo from Jeno Berta, November 11, 2013

Greetings All:

Today is Veterans' Day.  Thanks to all our Veterans.  Whether you did two years in Germany in '79 or 14 months in "The Sandbox," you did what was asked of you.  To anyone who wore our uniform at anytime, this is your day.  The degree of service and sacrifice is different for everyone.  As that saying goes, "...some gave all."  If truth is the first causality of conflict, then fairness is the second.

Here's President Kennedy's take on it:

"...there is always inequity in life. Some men are killed in a war and some men are wounded, and some men never leave the country, and some men are stationed in the Antarctic and some are stationed in San Francisco. It's very hard in the military or personal life to assure complete equality. Life is unfair."  --"President's News Conference of March 21, 1962 (107)"  Public Papers of the Presidents: John F. Kennedy, 1962.

Life is unfair.  For all the times I think of some petty setback or silly inconvenience I see dressed up as a crisis, I need to recall I live the life of Reilly compared to the men and women we honor today.  The poem that follows is my amateur effort at a poem to pay homage to one veteran.   As I have said before, I’m a bar stool poet.  Still, this is from the heart.  Thanks for reading it.

The Handshake of a Hero by Jeno Berta

The old man who limps along,
Will shake your hand with a grip strong;
His face is weathered, his hair gray and thin;
Yet his eyes sparkle and he’s quick to grin.

He won’t brag and most won’t ask,
Of what he did those years past,
When he was young and he was  strong,
In a company of heroes he did belong.

In a jungle, or on a hill,
He faced an enemy,
Who wanted to kill.

He lost friends, he faced fear,
He smoked Luckys and drank beer.
He saw the worst that man can do,
Yet to his cause he remained true.

Then it was over, he came home.
But his mind would still roam,
Roam back to that place so long ago,
Where everyone was named Joe.

He still mourns his friends whom he lost,
In exact change, he’s paid war’s cost,
Yet he has lived a good life,
On decade six with his wonderful wife,
Kids and grandkids make his day,
And the first great-grand one’s on the way!

He is the reason that on honor him today,
Who fought against tyranny’s decay,

So if you meet him, shake his hand,
And know that, because of him,
You are free,
In this land.

Be well my friends,

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