Treasure Island

Maurice Harris

(29 April 1971 / Louisville, KY)

This Hero (An Ode To The American Military Veteran)


The American Military Veteran, a breed of hero, unparalleled in history,
Gave so much to so many-yet, somehow remains to them, a mystery.
What would possess an individual with so many rights guaranteed,
To leave it all behind, and gallantly defend liberty in a foreign land in need! ? !
Why would they risk their lives for the sake of strangers-or, even care! ? !
Perhaps they believe: 'injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.' *

Freedom is only ever free so long as there are patriots willing to die to preserve it.

'Hero' is a moniker oft-bandied about, but there are some who truly deserve it.
This hero simply acts, when and where action is needed, in spite of danger.
This hero acts with honor and integrity, for a Brother In Arms, or a stranger,
No matter the risk to him or herself-a selfless dedication that very few possess.
What this hero means to a free world, words could never properly express;
A simply 'thank you for your service' is all that most people can humbly tender,
All the while, never able to gather what drives a person to banish the word 'surrender'
From his/her vocabulary, and speak a language filled with acronyms and foreign jargon.
'Enemies of the Constitution', foreign or domestic, are not ones with which they will bargain-
For THIS, and this alone, is the one precept to which they pledge unwavering allegiance.

We are One Nation Under God, and they believe that He created, in His Omnipotence,
This 'More Perfect Union' so that we may be freedom's foremost defender.
This hero served, so that all may enjoy liberty and justice, in all their splendor,
Not just for today and tomorrow-but, so that our progeny may, for all perpetuity,
Live their lives under the blanket of the freedoms provided by truly selfless acuity.

This hero deserves so much more from us than just our heart-felt appreciation,
He or she earned the right to your utmost respect, with tireless dedication
To principles that most seem to take for granted, except when reminded.
Take the time to truly get to know one of these heroes, if you are still blinded
By an ignorance that may be unintentional, yet very real still the same.
These words are meant to edify and inspire, not surely to assess any sort of blame-
Not only will you surely get to better know a remarkably heroic human being,
But perhaps learn to appreciate more, the very freedom you are now seeing.

*Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter From A Birmingham Jail

-Maurice Harris,7 November 2012

Submitted: Wednesday, November 07, 2012

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