More than a name on the wall

More than a name on the wall
(Freedom isn’t free. Some men and women, gave everything away for freedom.)
I became the old soldier in the tavern now. Drinking with the  ghosts of memories. I buy two whiskeys and two cold beers and I talk to missed friends. The bartender leave me alone because the leftover men come here often to question, why did I live and my friends couldn’t?
USA build a new wall. I found the new wall and I see names of two Michigan men, I served with, my friends. The new wars is stealing from my world. Old soldiers ask often, when will these damn wars end?
I remember in September 2004. Good friend of many years didn’t return my phone calls or letters. I called his parent and the mother gave the phone to the father. He told me. Don was killed in Iraq in August 2004.  I thanks the father and I hung the phone-up.
I went to my bedroom, I fell apart and I cried for a good man. I didn’t know what to feel or do. I found  his children and his new wife. Dear wife organized for me to visit my friend’s parent and family.  I gather with his father and mother near by his grave. He was in a soldier graveyard. In the early days of Spring, the wildflowers and dandelions surrounded his grave. I left them be. My friend was a country boy who loved the forest. He would had liked the wildflowers and the dandelions. I said a goodbye, touched the grave stone and I stood back. I saluted my friend. I remember me and his mother, she hugged me and we cried together.
I would return a year later, six pack of Miller lite, his favorite beer and I sat near his gravestone. I touched some flowers left by one of his daughters and I told him. The world is less without you my friend. Your parent and brothers/sisters were kind to me. I told them stories about you. I told them how you never gave-up, loved your daughters and the crazy thing we did. I told them about the good days and the bad days. I remember traveling with you the four hour drive to pick-up your children in North Carolina. You only trusted me with your girls and our children grew-up together. I know you would tell me, man-up John, get-up and go forward. Please ensure my girl are okay and please tell them. Their father loved them more than anything.
Today been almost 16 years and I touched his name, surrounded by so many good men and good women. A Vietnam vet, old timer came to me. He saw the sadness in my face and he wrapped his arm around me. He told me, they are more than names on a lonely wall. Us, who lived. We are the reminders, the people that are leftover to tell stories of men and women who once lived. We must ensure their children, their family know. These men and women were part of our world once. He showed me the soldier’s  table and he told me. I am a old man and I will join my brothers in heaven or in hell at the soldier table. We will laugh together again, we will drink the whiskey and talk till we cannot. I thanks him and I walked away in silence.
Thank you for reading and take care and be safe my friend. Hard days are here and we will overcome. This is our world and we are tougher then we believe.
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                  Dancing Coyote