I was going to post this in the Veteran's Room, but I wanted to share it with everyone; so I thought I'd post it here in the Pub. A simplistic poem, with a sweet message, in honor of Veterans' Day:
Her hair was up in a pony tail,
her favorite dress tied with a bow.
Today was Daddy's Day at school,
and she couldn't wait to go.
But her mommy tried to tell her,
that she probably should stay home ;
why the kids might not understand,
if she went to school alone.
But she was not afraid;
she knew just what to say.
What to tell her classmates
of why he wasn't there today.
But still her mother worried,
for her to face this day alone.
And that was why, once again,
she tried to keep her daughter home.
But the little girl went to school,
eager to tell them all.
About a dad she never sees,
a dad who never calls.
There were daddies along
the wall in back, for everyone to meet.
Children squirming impatiently,
anxious in their seat.
One by one the teacher called
on a student from the class.
To introduce their daddy,
as seconds slowly passed.
At last the teacher called her name,
every child turned to stare.
Each of them was searching,
a man who wasn't there.
"Where's her daddy at?"
she heard a boy call out.
"She probably doesn't have one,"
another student dared to shout.
And from somewhere near the back,
she heard a daddy say,
"Looks like another deadbeat dad,
too busy to waste his day."
The words did not offend her,
as she smiled up at her Mom.
And looked back at her teacher,
who told her to go on.
And with hands behind her back,
slowly she began to speak.
And out from the mouth of a child,
came words incredibly unique.
"My Daddy couldn't be here,
because he lives so far away.
But I know he wishes he could be,
since this is such a special day.
And though you cannot meet him,
I wanted you to know all about my daddy,
and how much he loves me so.
He loved to tell me stories,
he taught me to ride my bike;
he surprised me with pink roses,
and taught me to fly a kite.
We used to share fudge sundaes,
and ice cream in a cone.
And though you cannot see him.
I'm not standing here alone.
'Cause my daddy's always with
me, even though we are apart;
I know because he told me,
he'll forever be in my heart."
With that, her little hand reached up,
and lay across her chest.
Feeling her own heartbeat,
beneath her favorite dress.
And from somewhere there in the crowd
of dads, her mother stood in tears.
Proudly watching her daughter,
who was wise beyond her years.
For she stood up for the love
of a man not in her life.
Doing what was best for her,
doing what was a right.
And when she dropped her hand
back down, staring straight into the crowd.
She finished with a voice so soft,
but its message clear and loud.
"I love my daddy very much,
he's my shining star.
And if he could, he'd be here,
but heaven's just too far.
You see he is an American Soldier
and he died just this past year,
when a roadside bomb hit his convoy
and taught Americans to fear.
But sometimes when I close my eyes,
it's like he never went away."
And then she closed her eyes,
and saw him there that day.
And to her mother's amazement,
she witnessed with surprise,
a room full of daddies and children,
all starting to close their eyes.
Who knows what they saw before them;
who knows what they felt inside.
Perhaps for merely a second,
they saw him at her side.
"I know you're with me Daddy,"
to the silence she called out.
And what happened next made believers,
of those once filled with doubt.
Not one in that room could explain it,
for each of their eyes had been closed.
But there on the desk beside her,
was a fragrant long-stemmed pink rose.
And a child was blessed, if only for a moment,
by the love of her shining star.
And given the gift of believing,
that heaven is never too far.
There must be many children in the same boat as this little girl. Thanks to our servicemen and their families for the sacrifice they are making to keep our country free. The ULTIMATE sacrifice is being left behind. Don't forget them.
I have nothing but respect for soldiers and military personnel. They unveiled a new monument in Ottawa honouring soldiers from the war in Afghanistan yesterday - great idea, and the services today were beautiful as always.
I remember the first time I witnessed a procession on the highway of heroes, (fallen soldiers taken from Toronto Coroner's office to CFB Trenton via Highway 401). Extremely sad, but amazing to see people turn out to pay their respects along the highway. The overpasses are lined with police, firefighters and citizens waving the flag and saluting the procession as they pass. Literally the most touching thing I've ever witnessed.
My Dad, who will always be my hero, retired from the USMC as an E-9 with 20+ years service. He never talked about his experiences during his 3 tours in VietNam. Until after I'd retired from the military myself....maybe because he thought I could handle listening now and he was getting old and didn't want those experiences to die with him untold, and it was important for me to know, I'm not sure. I see him a few times a year, and every time we visit, he tells me more of what he went through. The first time he was shot at by a sniper (who thankfully missed). The first time he killed an enemy not 10 feet from him and saw the man die, and how he felt about that. The time his helicopter was landing and was holed by several snipers, and one bullet drilled into the seat less than 4 inches from his chest. The worst one.....a couple of old buddies arrived at his post in Nam, and the three were sharing a couple of beers and old times while walking down a narrow dirt road to the local village during a rare few hours off. A cute little girl, around 7, was ambling down the road near them. She had a pink ribbon in her hair, and a pink ribbon tied to the basket she was carrying....Dad said he remembered that a few days before one of the young Marines had a roll of pink ribbon and was cutting off lengths of it for all the girls and women in the village. Anyway, Dad excused himself to go behind a thick stand of bamboo to take a leak, and there was an explosion that knocked him off his feet. Body parts of his buddies, the little girl, and shreds of burning basket came sailing over the bamboo. The little girl had a homemade bomb in her basket, no doubt instructed by an enemy agent just to walk down the road with the basket and her family would get a chicken for the stewpot or something. Our military men through the years (and now military women) have lived (and died) through horrors that we can only imagine. This is not a statement as to whether or not I agree with any or all wars America has ever engaged in....only a statement of the sacrifices our military have made to keep us safe. Bless our veterans....and bless you, Dad.