May 31, 2021

The Ultimate Sacrifice: A Poem for Memorial Day.

I perform the workout Murph and visit the cemetery every Memorial Day.

Not because I love beating up my body, but because I lost my best friend in the Iraq war in 2004. Sometimes I’ll just sit there talking to his grave as if he were right there alongside me enjoying the life I have today.

Usually, around this time, people are quick to thank me for my service, and I have to pause myself and remember the ultimate sacrifice. It’s not that I don’t appreciate their gestures, it’s just the wrong time and day to honor those of us who are here today.

What I hope to convey with this poem is that most people don’t realize that there is a part of us lost. Memorial Day is a time where the veterans who made it home remember everything about the day where their friends paid the ultimate price.

The Ultimate Sacrifice 

A lone wolf lives among the sheep.
He used to fight with a pack, but now he can’t sleep.
You give him a uniform and rifle and expect him to defend.
A mission he never understands, the death of his friends.
He comes home and they pin medals on his chest.
But eventually, he ends his time in service and wonders what’s next.

Memories of his friends killed haunt his dreams.
Instead of protecting life and liberty, he fights to breathe.
Most of us lost something at the expense of America’s longest-running war.
Now we are here, and we aren’t sure what for.
Some of us bled, and some of us fought.
The ultimate sacrifice, a life for thought.

On Memorial Day, take a few minutes to remember the truth.
Speak of the stories of our past, and tell them to the youth.
War took away friends we loved dearly.
Perhaps it’s a gift because we see the value in our lives more clearly.
But nothing is worth the price of thousands of lives.
If you find a warrior today, don’t just thank them for their service
think of the ones who paid the price.

Have a conversation with them and listen to what they have to say.
Take time to look into their eyes, no need to thank them
because the real heroes are home in a grave.
He’s just lucky enough to see the sunset and rise for another day.
He stands tall today because he carries something with him most can’t see.
Guilt and fear that he came home alive and free.


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