Here’s to you, the men and boys
who saved the Jews and gypsies
and stopped the killing
of Catholics
and of Gays
and to the women, those who served
and those who stayed at home
to keep the fires burning
the lights in myriad windows
the home places kept and swept

Here’s to the boys who went obedient
to wars they did not approve
who walked into machinery
that would shred the sinews of their souls
and leave them forever distant
from all those they had loved

To my Love who sailed away to ‘Nam
and my Love who stayed at Ft. Sill
and to their tears that pool
in my left hand and my right

To those who flew the choppers
and those who kept them in the air
to the women on the ground
and the children left alone

To the son of my heart
in his foxhole in the desert
and the men and the women
who hold the fort in Iraq

Afghanistan and Korea
Europe and Wounded Knee
Sand Creek and Antietam
Santiago and Valley Forge

We taught you Love
and to show mercy
We taught forgiveness
and turn the other cheek
then we handed you a weapon
and sent you off to war

And you went

For all you left behind
your dichotomy of soul
for your bodies given
your spirits torn
for Death
and lone survival
all you gave
and all you lost
we owe a debt
we cannot repay

Obedient children

you fought our battles for us
and for your brave souls
we must give account