by Jeff Drifmeyer
(On the occasion of the return of soldiers of the Army’s 3rd ACR to the cold plains of Ft. Hood, TX, 0200 hrs., Saturday, 10 Jan, 2009.)
Flood lights illuminate a ‘ghost formation’ of duffle bags,
Adjacent a small mountain of backpacks and rucksacks await,
Hard to imagine, our beloved soldiers endured 15 months with only what they could carry.
Inside, the old gym had seen many a big game, but never looked better.
Walls covered floor to ceiling, all manner of signs, posters, and banners of proud kid’s work.
Happy messages; ‘love you,’ ‘welcome home,’ and ‘thank you,’ in red, white and blue.
The DJ didn’t have to hype the crowd.
‘Born-in-the USA’ blaring!
Spouses, children, parents, grandparents, friends, relatives –all anxiously wait.
After 15 long, hard months, the countdown of days, now down to minutes…
“They’re here!” the announcer suddenly proclaims.
In they file, proud and orderly, onto the gym floor, in formation, and..,
the whole place explodes with raucous JOY!
Welcome home beloved soldiers,
Land of the free, Because You Are the Brave!
Finally, my daughter is safely home from war.
Thanks be to GOD.
After “winning” the first draft lottery (circa 1969), Jeff Drifmeyer joined the USMCR and served six years in aviation support. After graduate school he joined the Army Medical Service Corps and served for 20 more years. His oldest daughter returned safely after 15 months with 3rd ACR in Mosul. Jeff has self- published two books, a military thriller on bioterrorism and a work of narrated non-fiction, “Civil War Comes Home.” He appreciates the growth and support of the College of William & Mary Veterans Writing Project.