by Michael Bruce Scanlan
I met an old man yesterday,
While strolling through the mall,
Who looked to be about my age
And stood near six feet tall.
He donned a well-worn baseball cap
That meant a lot to me
And showed me where and when he served
With the 1st Cavalry.
I walked up with an outstretched hand,
As we took in each other,
Then looked him in the eyes and said,
“Welcome home, my brother.”
His body stiffened, then he slumped,
Then grabbed my outstretched hand,
As tears began to fill his eyes,
Before I helped him stand.
Drawn out words in a Southern drawl
Were whispered quietly;
As tears rolled down his cheek, I heard,
“No one’s said that to me.”
We talked for just a little while,
Then each went our own way,
But his reaction and sad words
Have haunted me all day.
We sent almost 3 million troops:
Fifty-eight thousand died,
One hundred-sixty thousand wounds,
The rest, honor’s denied.
Who all came home and still wear scars:
Heard boos instead of cheers
And still have not received acclaim,
Though it’s been fifty years.
So if you see a well-worn hat
Upon some veteran’s head
Just take a moment to thank him,
You’ll both be glad you did.