VMI: Parade Rest

22 March 2004





On the field.

Parade Rest.


Down the line,


I cannot hear.


Here.  Here I stand.

Clean, starched, pressed, shiny,


Alone and yet a part of.

Parade Rest.


For a long while,

I only stare straight ahead

but the buildings do not move,

and there is no one on the sidewalks

and then,

from my right

it begins.


The Japanese planes coming down

out of the sun

to strafe the troops, the line.

The mini-ball whizzing by my ear,

the mortar landing nearby.


I so clean and motionless

while others

far away,

low crawl away

from bullets and bombs.


While I stand in the bright afternoon sun,

I can see and feel others in a war far away,

fighting and dying

and I feel guilty.

The chaos of fighting so stark

in contrast

to me



Parade Rest.


I feel guilty

and at the same time


Privileged to be here.


Beyond the “current war”,

so many other wars.

All those islands and jungles.

All those beach landings and hedgerows.

All those mini-balls and fields of honor.


so I could stand here


in the sun.

Parade Rest.


What a strange place I am in.

Parade Rest while the world does war.


Guilty but I will do nothing about it.

I will not leave and volunteer.

My time will come.


Then, suddenly,

the call to “attention”

and I respond

with 1000 others.


Parade Rest.


A part of.


Parade Rest.

Guilty and privileged



VMI: All Things Related


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