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On Memorial Day

By request, here's a rerun of "At Arlington," originally run last Memorial Day.

You are lions to little me, and what’s more, you never thought of yourselves as such.

You stood in straight lines at attention where my legs buckle with fear, with fatigue, with laziness.

You stayed kept your politics to yourself so that I might speak of reality television and infomercials.

You bent with the weight of heavy gear and heavy responsibility so that I could stand impatiently in amusement park ride lines, cell phone in one hand, cold drink in the other.

Your family followed you without complaint so that I can lay my head down at night without any real concern as to whether or not mine is safe.

You drank dirty, warm water so that I could have my choice of bottled Perrier in the endless aisles of a well-swept grocery store.

You submitted to the orders of others so that I can pick up and lay down work at will.

You stayed up all night, watching, so that I could sleep in and roll my eyes at the cost of a Frappuccino.

You missed the birth of your first child so that I could weep over not having had a vacation in the past year.

You put your entire career on hold so that I could fret over the low pay for freelance writers these days.

You endured desert heat so that I could smack at the thermostat and make a single phone call to fix it.

You live in assigned quarters, tents even, so that I could complain about property taxes.

You hauled crates of humanitarian aid into Jeeps so that I could tap the softness of my arms and complain about the terrible shape I was in–how fat, how underdeveloped.

You drove tanks into sniper fire so that I could look around the quiet streets of my small suburb and say, “There’s nothing going on around here.”

You put off higher education so that I could gnash my teeth over my alma mater’s poor football showing.

You shivered in driving rains so that I could tell everyone from my heated home that I was having trouble adjusting to these terrible Virginia winters after five years in Florida.

You climbed into fighter jets so that I could balk at the poor customer service of the airlines.

You read technical manuals so that I could kill twenty minutes with a gardening magazine.

You deferred credit to others when I said, “Why aren’t I famous yet?”

You ate another MRE so I could sigh over microwaved leftovers from a bulging refrigerator.

You said, “Give me a gun,” when I said, “But a rerun of Golden Girls is on.”

You said, “I’ll go,” when I said, “I’m too important here.”

You said, “Send me,” when I said, “I’m afraid to die.”

You said, “For others,” when I said, “For me.”

And I thank you.

very grateful at: mbe@drinktothelasses.com

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Reader Comments (6)

[...] reader request, a Memorial Day replaying of “At Arlington.” Share and [...]

Section Sixty
The Saddest Acre In America

Men and Women buried here
Who gave their all for you and me
In Iraq and Afghanistan
So that, others, might be Free.

Row after row of headstones
Where friends and families grieve
They pay respects and say a prayer
There's some, don't want to leave.

Some will place a memento
For their Hero, neath the ground
And far too often, during the day
Hearing "Taps", a mournful sound.

The white stones bear their Name
Rank and Branch and conflict Served
The dates of Birth and Death
And the Citations, they deserved.

Maybe, a symbol for their Faith
Something, etched above their name
But no matter what, their beliefs
They're all treated just the same.

Once, Comrades in Battle
And now, resting neath that stone
Forever with, those other Heroes
So, they will never be alone.

Section Sixty, just a small part
Of this sacred, hallowed ground
But, each plot a special place
Where, a Hero may be found.

They all are in good company
Two hundred sixty thousand souls
Buried here at Arlington
Some young, with unfulfilled life goals.

All Served our Country selflessly
And they all deserve our praise
We should, remember them and thank them
Not just, only on, these holidays.

Del "Abe" Jones


Started with a group of twenty-five
In the year of twenty-eight
By those who'd lost a Son or Daughter
From the wartime's cruel fate.

When the Blue Star on the Service Flag
Was replaced with one of Gold
Everybody knew a Mother grieved
With a loss from that household.

"Out of tragedy, we were formed"
And, "Out of love we continue."
This legacy of Gold Star Mothers
With the heartache, that they knew.

They use the memories and love
Of those who gave their all
To help those other Veterans
Who answered our Nation's call.

It's so sad, they still exist
And most likely always will
As long as, we go to war
There's a need they must fulfill.

Del "Abe" Jones
Their observance day is the last Sunday in September.


There's too many Gold Star Families
Their numbers growing every day
Too much to ask those loved ones
Such a terrible price they pay.

All will say they are very proud
That their loved one knew the cost
That in the horrors of Wartime
Precious lives are sometimes lost.

But the death of a brave Hero
In the Service of this Land
Dying for some other country
Is oft times, hard to understand.

"In the name of Freedom!"
"For the good of fellow man!"
"To put an end to oppression!"
Or, sometimes some other plan!

There have always been those Souls
Who will rally to the battle's call
Who will bear those deadly arms
Who will march and sometimes fall.

Some will just bear the wounds
Though, not always clear to see
Some will never return the same
As the people, they used to be.

But the ones who have that void
Of that hole in heart and mind
They are the greatest Heroes
That we can ever hope to find.

Maybe one day in our future
Peace will be the way we'll live
But until then we'll have those
Who give all they have to give.

Gold Star Families stand in front
And shed their tears of loss and pain
And as long as Man goes to War
We'll see them time and time, again.

Del "Abe" Jones

May 25, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdelabejones

My husband is home on leave from Iraq today. He cries when he hears the national anthem. He is not ashamed of his sentimentality or his patriotism. The flag means something to him. It isn't something he takes for granted. He is only one soldier, but the military is full of soldiers like him.

That isn't something I take for granted.

May 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnne from Iowa

MB, I've wanted to respond to your blog before, but could never find the right words. I think I have them today. Thank you. Thank you for understanding why I do my job. Thank you for acknowledging the sacrifices I make. And thank you for knowing that I make them willingly.

May 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTater

God bless you and your husband. I hope you had a wonderful weekend together.

May 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMB

Got me again, dangit. I always choke up at this. Sent it to many friends, with your link prevalent.

May 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLt K
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