Memorial Day
At The Columbus Indiana Memorial

What Have I Done

I am here between the then and the now
The little man in the bush wants to kill me
The little man on campus calls me baby-killer
My only brothers are dug-in next to me
What have I done so wrong for so many to despise me
Am I wrong for loving my country?
Am I wrong for giving my life so that others won't have to?
Am I wrong for watching my comrades die in pools of mud and blood,
so that I may feel the spit of ignorance when I return home?
Am I so naive that my beliefs are upside down?

The rage wells within me. When so many, so far from here,
cannot possibly understand why we are here;
yet their anger causes me to question all that I have never questioned.
I know that if they could see through my eyes for a single hour,
respect would surely replace the hatred born of ignorance.
They cannot know my strife.
They cannot know how their hatred burns cruelly in my belly.
Yet I fight and die to defend them and their freedom to hate me.
What irony this is.
Fanaticism and ignorance are forever busy - and need feeding.
They feed on my blood and the blood of my comrades.

I fight for them, but moreover, I fight for those who know why I'm here.
Those silent few whose moral courage strengthens me.
And I fight for my brother, who I cannot see, but know where he is hiding.
For I know he understands and he is with me.

1LT. Gary Conway, IGR-TC, TAC-OFCR

Fanfare For The Common Man... USAF American Heritage Band