Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Poem


A podium is an innocuous thing in our lives.
A rectangular thing made out of wood, plastic or metal.
A podium can be a friend, something used when good things happen.
Chaplains give words of praise, joy, and love from a podium.
Educators cheer on graduates.
Podiums give us support (literally) when we need it the most:
Talking in public. We lean on them, put our notes and water on them.
It’s easier to speak when the audience can only see half of you.
But a podium can also be an enemy.
Often when a podium is the focal point of an event
It means something bad has happened.
Press conferences are given from a podium. A plane crash
A fire, a child kidnapped.
Chaplains also start funerals from a podium.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…”
I never met Specialist Barton. He was nameless and faceless to me.
Our paths only crossed because on May 11th, 2009,
He was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
But we shared a common bond.
Our units share the same stateside command so
We have the same patch on our left sleeves.
That makes him a brother.
His commander is at a podium.
He is a friend and someone else I share a common bond with.
We are both commanders.
We shared mobilization and paperwork.
We shared building units from a random group of people.
Our difference is that he is at a podium.
It is in the shape of a castle, the symbol
Of the US Army Engineers.
He is telling the people stories about a young Soldier.
I don’t want that experience. I don’t want a podium.
Every morning I will say a quick prayer
Not to have to stand behind a podium,
In particular,
The one in the Division Chapel.
But I am a leader and I have duties.
As a commander I am responsible for everything
Concerning my soldiers…their health and welfare,
Their safety, their lives.
And, if necessary,
A trip to a podium.

1 comment:

lorraine said...

Hi Major: I have been following this blog since the beginning. Lovely writing & pix. The poem is really touching. Hope you never have to make the trip. Take care. and thank you for sharing your experience. Lorraine