Service

They are the recruits.
He is from Texas, Minnesota,
Maine, Kansas, and Florida.
She from New Mexico, Vermont,
Oregon and Mississippi.

Their fathers fought in Korea
and Viet Nam; mothers
in Gulf One, Afghanistan;
Uncles and Grandfathers
the World Wars, the Philippines.

They grew up military, army posts,
airfields, shipboard: We have
heard Ruffles and Flourishes and
the Navy Hymn all our lives,
they say. When called, we serve.

Our families are upright. They
are loyal. We must duplicate their
honor, their straightened backs,
their soldierís march, until honor
reaches our hearts, our bones.

And when danger comes, and the
village is in danger, we donít question.
We serve. Our allegiance the child
of gratitude, of love for high plains
seashores, forests, rivers, great cities.

Duty. Honor. Country. We parade
today on graduation fields. Tomorrow
we fight. Our necks tremble with fear,
and resolve. We serve. We fight. We die.
Please, O Father, do not waste our lives.


Steven Fortney


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