Thursday, April 30, 2009

Flag Draped Coffins

by Tina Richards

US flagged draped coffins
our children inside,
Iraqi flagged draped coffins
their children inside,
Afghani flagged draped coffins
their children inside

As I hold a lily to place on our children’s coffin,
my heart is torn.
So many Marines I have broken bread with,
Thanksgiving dinner,
Christmas dinner
I remember their eyes with so much innocence
Their families spread far and wide
For that day,
we became their family
I became their mom

These children who returned home in flagged draped coffins.
Not knowing what war and occupation would bring them
I mourn for what should not have been,
what should not be

Trusting their government not to lie
Not to send them into harm’s way,
unless it was absolutely necessary
I see their innocent faces each time I see a flagged draped coffin,
I go to lay a lily upon them

But then I hesitate

I hear my son’s words

“Mother,” he told me with a tear stained face,
Innocence no longer there
“I thought what we were doing was right,“
“I was told we were going to liberate the Iraqi people.”
“I trusted our leaders.”

“We set it free,”
“We set it free by shelling them with our artillery.”
“As we began to secure the city,
to safeguard the innocent civilians,”
“I saw three children playing,”
“I thought, ‘Yes that is why we are here.’”
“I saw a girl, maybe ten or eleven,
just the age of my sister,
playing with her younger brother and sister”
“Twirling something in the air.”
“Pink and Purple streamers she twirled it by.”
“Her brother and sister laughing.”
“Laughing at the pretty toy,”
“Delivered by the US military. “
“I realized at that moment,
it was a bomblet from our artillery.”
“Unexploded ordinances.”
“Cluster bombs.”
“In the moment I went to run,”
“to scream,”
“to shout, “No, No’”
……it detonated.
“In an instant,
half her face and arm gone.”
“Her brother and sister lay dead before her”
He said, “At that moment, I knew all I had been told was a lie”
“You cannot liberate or bring democracy with a howitzer,” he cried.
That thought would haunt him for years,
as he would bring a gun to his mouth
and call me to say he didn’t deserve to live.
Not live with the guilt of all the children killed

I think of that little girl,
Her brother
Her sister
I am so overwhelmed with sorrow and shame.
That our soldiers and Marines so trusting,
so patriotic,
have been so mislead
I brought my sons up to be Patriots
The occupations are not patriotic,
There is no honor
It is genocide.

As I lay the lily on the Iraqi coffin,
I make a vow
We must stop the killing of all these innocents,
perpetuated by the war profiteers,
military industrial complex,
our government
No more “patriots” will I raise

(Thanks to the real patriot Adam Kokesh for the link)

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