"Sharing can be a way of healing. Grief and loss can isolate,
anger even alienate. Shared with others, emotions unite
as we see we aren't alone. We realize others weep with us."
~Susan Wittig Albert

Through our writing, we walk out of the darkness into the light
together, one small step at a time, recording history, educating
America, and we are healing.
~CJ/Todd Dierdorff

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Sentinel at the Gates: by John Puzzo

The Sentinel at the Gates

The Sentinel At the Gates

Alumni et Patriae Asto © John Puzzo 2002

Without them Standing Sentinel,
as ever must they be,
not one American would be free.

I know they're all still out there,
together evermore,
From the Continental Army 
or maybe long before

When the 1st American casualty fell,
on these now ancient shores.

They wear tri corner hats, 
coonskin caps and kepis,
wide-brimmed Western cowboy hats, 
helmets and berets.

But no matter what they wear,
They belong to us.
It is from us they came
Through distant mists of time and place.

They’ve come and gone to stand and wait
and come they will,
To the Sentinels at the gates.

Father, son, husband, brother,
Important things these are,
But to stand with men of honor,
Is a better thing by far.

For without such men of honor,
ready to give their most,
what father, son, or brother,
would be left with any hope,

That there would be tomorrow 
for this Nation proud?
Lest men as these we find, 
fit America for a shroud.

Yes there they all are waiting, 
they’re all together now.
From every war and conflict, 
shot and shell they found.

At peace, eternal wait they now,
On holy, hallowed ground.

How can we ever thank them, 
these selfless angels past?
Thanks are but such trifling things

Instead we must dedicate
our every waking moment

…To the Sentinels at the gate,

For there they all stand waiting,
watching how well we do.

Will we let slip away,
That which they loved so well?

Their full measured honored duty,
Will we so cheaply sell?

Yes there they all stand waiting,
All together now,

They know some soldier stands at ready.
He will show them how.

Then they’ll welcome him 
as they once all were called:

“Brother, home my brother, 
See your name upon this wall?

You have done what was your duty.
The load you proudly carried 
is left for them to bear,
those others over there.

“So take your place beside us, 
hang your cap upon this tree.
And wait not long, you Sentinel.

In time you too will see
others coming to these gates,
That America will be…free.”

[Written for the Memorial Day Project, 
National Cemetery at Arlington, in 2003] 

John Puzzo

John J. Puzzo
K Company (Ranger)
75th Infantry (Airborne)
United States Army 1968 - 1971

Other Articles by John Puzzo:

Poem, "Waves"
Humor in Vietnam
The Lantern

“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do, and by the grace of God, I will.” ~Everett Hale

Feel free to comment on this post. You are also invited to write about anything you feel comfortable sharing. Memoirs From Nam is YOUR blog. You are writing America's history, sharing the truth about the Vietnam veteran, and what it was like in Our War.

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