If I should come home to Dover amid the military pomp,

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 knew of my blood family.

They shared all of my memories and letters from home.

They joined with my brother who is weaving his way through life in an All-American high school in an All-American city.

They felt my sister’s joy in her anticipation of impending married life.

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.

Notice: I will be at a book signing at the Kansas City Store on the Plaza from 1 to 3 p.m. on Monday.

Stop by and say hello.