vv One of Us vv
A silent drum tapped.
Here and there the silent message was heard.
Men who had long ago laid down their rifles, who had forgotten where their uniforms were last seen. These men heard the silent tap and each quietly stopped what he was doing and raised an invisible flag.
Once again they felt the old cloak of comradeship slip around their shoulders.
They remembered who they were and what they’d done, and now they were going to do it again.
A Soldier was still outside the wire.
These men remembered when it had happened before and they came together, one more time, to form an invisible fighting force.. An Army of Dads and Granddads;
To some of the new men in this land, these were The Old Contemptibles.
To those of us who had served with them, we are a band of brothers.
Many have never met, but they recognise the spirit and gladly offer their hand.
Each man in this silent army is sadly proud to be “One of Us”
This time their rifles are computers and their uniforms are their feelings.
The ammunition is remembrance of battle fields, unknown to their sons, where courage was a daily walk in the sun or rain.
They remember the deep regret of lost mates, and with no further doubts, they turn to the sound of the silent drum to finish one more battle, to bring in one more soldier.
I was that soldier. Lost for 32 years outside the wire. I had failed many times, on my own, and now I asked for help.
The word silently spread like a distant bush fire, growing in size and power.
Where I had struggled on my own for all these years, I was now lifted quietly and carried along in the unwavering care of men I had soldiered with, and many I had never met…. But all are brothers of that forgotten force who wore shirts as thin as sweat and walked the jungle paths. They didn’t have to know me as a person, they only had to know me as “One Of Us”.
How do I thank them? I can’t! If I thank one of them I might miss one of them. How could I do that?
The only way I can thank them is by being ready to answer the silent tap of the drum, for any “One of Us” who needs.
I promise I will be there till I no longer hear the silent drum, and I have then rejoined all the others who again greet me as “One of Us”.
Jim Riddle “One of Us”.
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