Wednesday, May 13, 2009

13 May -- The Oldest Warriors Gather


The oldest warriors gather
In the corner of the room nearest the bar.
Not for them the wine and cheese. They hold adult beverages -- bourbon and vodka.
They share again the stories they have all heard many times.
Learning to pack your parachute.
No parachute for the tailgunner; you were sealed in until you landed -- or didn't.
Jumping out of a perfectly good airplane.
Learning to land on grass, on water, on ice. Building the runway.
We visited Germany last summer; told my wife Last time I was here I was driving a tank.
Baseball caps on bald heads, embroidered with a ship, a unit, a mascot.
An occasional chuckly ripple, or a reflective silence.

The color guard enters.
The oldest warriors stand.
They've changed the law, they reassure each other. It's ok to do this.
They perform the shared gesture of their exclusive club:
In their brown or gray or blue suits, or their jeans and sweaters, fingertip touching eyebrow
They snap a perfect military salute.

* During the ceremony of hoisting or lowering the flag or when the flag is passing in a parade or in review, all persons present in uniform should render the military salute. Members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute. 2008 amendment to Sect. 9, Title 4, U.S. Code

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Elsa,
First time checking into your blog and I found your wonderful poem, written about a year ago about the time of your friend's memorial service.
Very moving, and fine connections with the old warriors as they celebrate friendship, military memories and their lives now.
in peace, your old friend Nancy

May 17, 2010 at 1:56 PM  

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