Safe at home:
As I did ordinary chores,
The coffee, food, clean floors,
Just putting hands to use,
There came some words of news.
I turned, to watch what was on.
It was our brothers, fathers, sons!
Brought home. Brought home, they said,
there in that vast space.
A dirge began at the coffin bearers’ pace.
These four had served, stood proud for me.
Honor. They kept their oath. Now free.
Free? How dare they have to die
For a lie.
I heard the speeches. Yes, I cried
For, sadly, Honor also died.
Four caskets, flag draped.
Into hearses solemnly placed,
How perfectly in place they stood,
Twenty-eight young men, the Honor Guard.
They swore their Sacred Honor, and I wept.
Safe at home:
Honor lives for them, for Honor kept.
(Honor by Lou Ellen Brown, September 2012)
That American deaths not be in vain has become somewhat of a whimper when it should be shouted from rooftops and mountaintops and from the very tallest of our government buildings.
I was watching with sorrow the somber and heartbreaking return of bodies in coffins draped in American flags that prompted my poem Honor. Later, the dignity of the ceremony in the homecoming that Saturday morning and the subsequent reference to ‘bumps in the road’ seemed like very cold and uncaring contrasts of behavior from the leaders of the nation for which they sacrificed their lives. How was it possible that four young men were so viciously slain simply for being Americans in support of an American outpost. They were basically unarmed, but were at the mercy of beasts of prey who came well armed and purposeful to sate a bloodlust centuries upon centuries old.
A whisper of truth was shouted down by cries of “The video did it!” full throat from those who would not look truth in the eye. They knew, could only not have known by sheer determination not to know, like the brother and sister in the back seat of the family car, fingers stuffed in ears and tongues wagging with that vocal noise lalalalala that children make to drown out all they don’t want to hear. Yet now admitting to knowledge held made it all the worse. Did all the hundreds, nay, thousands who swam in the bloodlust, did they reveal to civilized nations that some things would be best left to those who gloried in the blood and gore of those not like them? Perhaps the civilized nations with reason and peace as codes of conduct should withdraw from alien lands and say “Enough. No more will America’s heroes die in vain.” 2004 now lost in 2012.