|
|
Examiner
  • Jerry Plantz: Keep honoring the war dead

  • In 2010 as American fatalities in Iraq were climbing toward 4,000 and Afghanistan nearing 499 deaths, I again honored the fallen with my elegy “If I Should Come Home To Dover.”

    • email print
  • In 2010 as American fatalities in Iraq were climbing toward 4,000 and Afghanistan nearing 499 deaths, I again honored the fallen with my elegy “If I Should Come Home To Dover.”
    Today, American, NATO and Allied forces are dying in Afghanistan at the rate of one a day, and that number has now surpassed 2,000 in the 11-year-old war. The fallen military are flown to Dover Air Force Base, America’s morgue, where they are prepared for interment. They knew that Dover meant finality but in their patriotic way, they wanted you to know that:
    If I should come home to Dover amid the military pomp,
    and long before I become a minute footnote in time,
    I want my country to know that:
    I believed in all those patriotic mottos, songs and slogans.
    I voluntarily raised my hand to join comrades-in-arms.
    I trained with apprehension knowing that someday
    role-playing would revolve into reality.
    I savored every strain and hardship
    that I endured with my new fraternity of friends.
    Those friends came from a myriad of great American cities and counties.
    My comrades validated my life.
    They were part of my family.
    They understood my dad’s tears of pride from his military days, and of his generation.
    They smiled and cried with my mom, who, as all moms silently do, bite their lips, pray and ask – why?
    If I should come home to Dover, I want my country to know that
    I am at peace with my God.
    I loved my country.
    Even its imperfections among all its blessed greatness.
    I had no regrets.
    I know “What ifs” are not relevant.
    I sacrificed without reservation.
    My family will grieve for me and my country will mourn.
    They will ply us with ribbons, medals, and soothing words of valor,
    and we will proudly receive them,
    from the greatest tribute, to a loved one’s tears, to a simple “Thank you!”
    Our souls nod in humble acceptance.
    I am coming home to Dover with others along side of me.
    Our silent request beneath these flags and flowers
    is for you to celebrate – living, and that precious gift of freedom.
    We have bequeathed that to you.
    And when there is time, take a moment to remember,
    always remember,
    we fought for those mottos, songs and slogans,
    we did it for our comrades and country,
    we did it for you.
    We hope you believe in them too.
    I give you President John Adams’ toast: Independence forever.
    Page 2 of 2 - Jerry Plantz lives in Lee’s Summit. His website is at www.Jerryplantz.com. Reach him at jerryplantz@msn.com.
     
      • calendar