Dress Blues


The long midnight blue coat,
corporal stripes proudly placed on the sleeves.
The medals on the left over the heart
with the ribbons on the right.
The scarlet blood stripe down the sides
of the royal blue pants.
White gloves.
Black shoes.
The time had arrived for him to don
the formal dress uniform of a United States Marine.
He was to escort the flag-adorned box
that carried his best friend's body home
through subdued friends and family
rather than the heroic march of victory
and after the final notes of "Taps" and
the shouts of the twenty-one-gun salute fade
into silence, give a final salute
to the one who saved his life
as the casket is lowered
into the cemetery ground.
Bravery isn't what is needed
to kill a fellow human being.
It is trying to preserve life
but in the end doing what is needed
to preserve freedom
even if that means giving up your own life.

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