They Walk Among Us

 

By Tessi Renard

 

They were lean, tough and squared-away Marines

Hardened by combat, senses as sharp as the elephant grass they patrolled

A sense of oneness between them too difficult to explain or define

They walk among us, these heroes among men, these giants in history

 

Once spat upon, ridiculed by the ignorant whose freedom they willingly defended

Long ignored by the government whose call they answered

Struggling to find peace with their past, a sense in their loss and a place in their present

They walked among us, bewildered and hidden

 

Now and again, captured by a fleeting thought, they twitch, their eyes far away

Uninvited memories in flashbacks and nightmares

Taken back to the smells, the sights and the sounds of the chaos like it was yesterday

They walk among us, lost and forgotten

 

Now aged and gray, boomer and grandpas with soft blue eyes and gentle hands

Their hearing and sight diminished by time

Bodies’ heavy with age

Suffering from the by-products of war; disease and affliction that only man can create

Below the surface, a tall, proud Marine waits

They walk among us, their age their disguise

 

In the company of their peers, they relive the times

Enveloped by the camaraderie like the steamy jungles of Vietnam

The tall and proud Marine emerges,

Reinvigorated by the brotherly bond and mutual respect

They walk among us, larger-than-life bad-ass Marines

 

When the final role call beckons

Their earthly duty complete

The demons defeated

Continuing their protective vigil, always faithful

They walk among us, peaceful and calm – these heroes among men, these giants in history

 

 Never forgotten

 

Dedicated to Larry, John & their Recon Brothers