You and me are the same; of equal value and standing
But today you and I, we did two very different things:
At work you lack sleep because you were out late
With friends drinking at a ball game;
I woke after four hours sleep to go on another patrol
Because they needed more men.
You had a meal in your home, surrounded by your loved ones
Probably watching TV and not talking to one another at all;
I ate my meal on the Syrian border from a crate of MRE’s on my Stryker
I picked shrapnel out of it, trying to remember when that one happened.
You dropped the leftover change into the tip cup of the barista
And neither one of you knew the war was really “still going on?”
I exposed myself to enemy fire as I ran between the positions
My men held to survey the scene, and bring more ammo – twice.
You got your paycheck and bitched about taxes you’re paying
And how bonuses shrank this year, which is ‘total bullshit’;
I didn’t even know it was payday, and my check went directly
Into a bank account I only pray I live long enough to use one day.
Today your cell rang to let you know a guy was quitting and that would
Put the project behind – you spilled your latte and were pissed;
Today I crouched in a shallow ditch and tried to keep one of my men alive
Long enough for the medevac bird, knowing even if he survives I’m still down one.
You slapped a yellow ribbon magnet to the trunk of your Lexus
Because, you know, you support the troops – and that’s popular;
Today I asked a man to lay down his life to gain and hold a piece of ground
We both knew that was a possibility, but he didn’t know I’d ask that today – nor did I.
The only difference was I knew about everything you were doing
Because I envied it, longed for it, and dreamt about it;
The only difference was you had no idea I or anyone else
With me even existed.
This work is by no means meant to ignore the thousands who sent care packages, raised funds and awareness for, or directly supported the servicemen and women deployed or returned; these are my feelings about the selfish, ignorant majority that easily forget, if they even knew at all in the first place…