I first saw him on a park bench
I’ve seen him every day
Sitting in a shady grove
Where my children come to play.
Some days he feeds the birds and squirrels
Or whittles little toys
Sometimes he just sits and smiles
At the laughing boys and girls.
And I never paid him any mind
‘Till one day just this year
I noticed that he wore a frown
And on his cheek….
Well, I asked him why he seemed so down
He looked up, began to say
I lost half my friends
60 years ago today.
He told me of the terror
As he fought to reach dry land
By the time the beach head was secure
Half his friends lay in the sand.
That was just in one long day
He fought on for 4 years more
And the 60 years from then ’till now
Had not dimmed his sights of war.
He said they have reunions
Just to keep in touch and share
And for each comrade that has gone on
They leave an empty chair.
Well, his park bench has been empty now
About 6 months or so
And if I had never took the time
Then I never would’ve known.
That sitting on that simple bench
With bread crumbs and little toys
Was a man who gave his all
To guarantee my daily joys.
So give thanks to all the men and women
Who are still here or gone before
And made the highest sacrifice
In both peace time and in war.
Because they bought our freedom
Paid their own blood sweat and tears
Then endured the heartache of those empty chairs
For all of these years.
So please do not ignore them
Or speed by without a care
‘Cause you never know
When you might pass by…
A Hero Unaware!
~By Mark Knight
22 June 2000