We couldn’t find her.
She’s only eight and there must’ve been a thousand people milling about.
The kids were sitting in groups, on the ground.
Off to one side men with guns were walking around
One by one the groups of children were corralled to the front.
And the men with guns lined up before them.
No one was scared, no one was worried.
The children performed as they’d been taught.
In front of the men with guns they sang, they marched they saluted, they talked.
None were scared—none were worried.
The men with guns moved to the side, and they too, performed as they’d been taught.
They sang, they marched they saluted, they shot.
Twenty-one shots rang out
And none were scared and none were worried
Taps pierced the crisp blue air
Tears did fall, but none were scared and none were worried.
One by one the names were called.
Some walked with canes and crutches, some were young and fit and some were old and decrepit. But each one made their way to the front in answer to the call…because once upon a time they'd been scared and they'd been worried.
When the applause died down and all went silent, we found her next to a man with a gun.
And no one was scared, no one was worried.
As she shook the man’s hand her words echo from that day to this:
“Thank you for your service—to keep us from being scared and worried.”
*NOTE: Written in response to report of a Veterans Day ceremony being cancelled by a school administrator claiming students may suffer "uneasiness" at the sight of guns * What makes me uneasy is the thought of someone firing mental blanks as a school administrator *