Friday, January 10, 2014

DAVID WINNETT: "A Prayer for the Falling Gulf Warrior"

The following is a poem by David Winnett, a retired Marine Corps Captain and service-disabled veteran of the 1991 Gulf War who now lives in Texas.  He serves on the Integration Panel of the Gulf War Illness Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP). 


"A Prayer for the Falling Gulf Warrior"

He stands six foot three; she's not much more than five foot or so,
They've got everything in common,
And many other traits where they share no resemblance at all, from their head to their toes,
But what sets them apart yet makes them as one,
They're America's warriors;
America's daughter, America's son,
In a brief few words you could simply call them a couple of rough and tumble sons of guns,
They once dared you to a race, and beat you every time,
If you pointed them to a mountain that had never been topped, they'd plant Old Glory on its peak, at the end of their climb,
You'd give em a mission with impossible odds,
They'd get it done, and in no time be back asking you for another, a more challenging one,
Without reservation, hesitation or second thought, they're the best of America, the absolute cream of the crop,
But as much as they're appreciated while in uniform, it's so sad that far too often when these warriors come home,
Americans soon forget what they've done for freedom, very often in a deadly combat zone,
The rigors of combat cannot be put into words, or expressed with an appropriate level of accuracy that would allow the listener to see,
Unseen are the gore and horror that the warrior eye has viewed so very graphic and close,
Unappreciated goes the lasting emotional pain of seeing a fellow warrior die, often right here at home, a friend that the warrior loved much more than most,
Blind are Americans to the illnesses that live deep in the tissue of many otherwise healthy looking young men,
It's so sadly easy to turn the other way after telling the warrior to keep a stiff upper lip and hold up his chin,
"Don't worry" they say, "It's all in your head", "Move on with your life, otherwise your negative outlook is sooner or later going to kill you dead",
What they don't understand about the woman and the man, the warriors who demonstrated unequaled acts of bravery in a very hostile land,
Are the horrible man made toxins and various wares of modern war, the kinds of things the world has never seen on the battlefield before,
For all intents and purposes these warriors are walking dead,
What's painfully true now without any shadow of a doubt,
They're god damned right, it's all in our heads!  Their cluelessness makes me want to scream and shout!
As we slowly pass away at such a tragic young age, the VA doesn't care to take roll call to see who's alive or who among us are dead,
They'd just as soon continue to paint us all as maligerers, lazy old Veterans who just want a monthly check, a high def TV, and a nice cozy bed,
They tell the media that we're just the "Entitlement Crowd",
They believe we're void of morals, and that we're just a bunch of fakers who whine and moan too loud,
More that a quarter million Gulf Warriors are deathly ill,
We've buried thousands of our dead in countless cemeteries on countless hills,
Yet the attitude we still see in government is apathetic at best,
These clueless bastards - I'll let you fill in the rest ______,
So the VA sets up a committee for appearances sake,
Masters so they think in the realm of PR,
Telling lie after lie has sadly brought them this far,
They study us in graphs and flow charts all day long,
Then at night they sit casually in a swanky DC bar and grill, and talk about what to do, over a juicy ribeye steak and a glass of wine that's perfectly chilled,
And for twenty years and three this circus goes on, 
They bring their act and their clowns back to town; rain, snow, sleet or hail, as often as their per diem and travel pay checks arrive on time in the mail,
But for the sick Veterans this endless talk with very little action has become unbearably stale,
Once in a while a few of their committee members get out of line,
By daring to speak frankly, to speak their candid mind,
That's when the thought police arrive swiftly from the very top floor,
Then comes the boot in the ass; a thankless kick out the back alley door,
Daring to respectfully question the motives of the man on the top floor is a sure fire recipe that you won't be serving Veterans any more,
So shame on the VA Secretary and his morally bankrupt "Yes man" goons,
For shaming and dismissing the sacrifices of hundreds of thousands of men and women who once valiant served in harms way,
Only to be abandoned and publicly scorned to this very day,
We Veterans pray together nightly that justice will one day prevail,
And that those who disenfranchised us will pay dearly for their cruelty and spite,
That karma will visit with each of them with unmerciful might,
We pray that God will intervene and help Gulf War Veterans to prevail in this, our final and most brutal of fights.

David K. Winnett, Jr. 


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