He's Still Here, A Warrior's Tribute by @SupernalDana
Written by Dana Taylor
Dedicated to her Dad, Dale Rojas
From Dana: My Dad served in the Marines during the Korean War. After his stroke in 2003, I took care of him until his passing in 2007. During that time we grew much closer and I came to appreciate his depth of character. I also glimpsed how his war experience impacted him.
Here's the poem I wrote in his honor.
HE’S STILL HERE
The old man stumbles, about to fall.
To strangers he’s barely a man, no one at all.
Just a stick figure, bent and confused,
Society’s discard in the heap of refuse.
His speech is garbled, a childish babble,
One more elder in the crowd of old rabble.
But look beyond the deterioration.
Old bones once defended a nation.
See in his eyes the trace of the soldier.
The body is aged, but the spirit no older.
Before the years of wife, children and work,
He reported for duty he never would shirk.
Marching from home at the outbreak of war,
He traveled to lands never seen much before.
A callow recruit full of bluster and youth,
He fought for liberty, freedom and truth.
The sights that he saw brought shock and dismay,
Burned into his memory day after day.
A boy caught in battle, unsure and green,
Transformed through war to a mighty Marine.
Forever changed, forever the fighter,
Now time is the enemy, it pulls the noose tighter.
He faces life with a warrior’s heart.
Each day is a battle, right from the start.
He won’t give in to helpless despair,
Won’t use a cane or a smooth wheeling chair.
His walk may wobble as he strolls round the block.
His fierce independence comes as a shock.
The old man knows death, struggle and fear.
Look closely, you’ll see, the Marine is still here