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In the Name of Duty

by Jean George
copyright 06-19-2005

Age Rating: 7 +

In the name of duty we huddled there
On hot tarmac standing in mute despair.
As each one processed through the moving line,
With tears unshed I took your hand in mine.

Buses sit like tumbrels to take away
The ones that became patriots that day.
Then your name was called and you had to go
Time for just one last promise spoken low.

Each night you were gone that last vow we kept;
We said one small prayer before we slept.
Somewhere in time our words combined
To speak of two halves forever entwined.

“Please keep my soul’s mate safe I ask of Thee,
But if Thou must take my heart’s love from me
Then give me strength to wait patiently
Until in Thy Kingdom we share our destiny.”

Now with duty done, I am waiting here
On hot tarmac I stand, the moment clear
As you return from riven Asian shores,
With unshed tears, you take my hand in yours.

I wrote this poem during that latter part of the Vietnam war when it seemed that all the 'guys' I knew were shipping out...It's funny but the only thing I did was to remove a few masculine pronouns to make it applicable now to the war in Iraq. I don't know if I should leave it as it is or rewrite it. When I read it now, it seems a bit simplistic to me...Any opinions?

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