Lady Liberty Cries - A Veteran's Day Poem
by Kristin Lee

Lady Liberty cries
tears no one can see.
Another Veteran's Day comes and goes
It passes as quick as parade
and the support for the troops,
never shows, in the land of the free.
It is, in short, underpaid.
Ribbons of support with no rightful action,
Administration's gain, a patriotic charade.

The president is not quite sure,
but maybe the budget for Veteran's health
may come along soon, but late.
In the meantime, sit and wait,
or serve another tour.
There is a delay in your care,
the funding is simply not there.

Give service to your country
swear by oath to honor
the rights of life and liberty.
We will show our gratitude and give you years of grief.

Not one of the freedoms and rights you enjoy
were given for free.
I see my sister sigh and hear her sobs across the sea
as her Dad takes his life,
a Vietnam veteran who the system failed to ever see.
Who lived far too long on the streets, in homes here and there,
where no one could show one ounce of care.
I was told he met with many an unknowing doctor,
who had lived only in the land of the free
and had never actually been there...
they gathered up pills to help him be mute, drool and stare.

She told me he ran as long as he could from his battle scenes
and veteran's beds.
He lived his whole life in hell or was it all bad dreams?
In the night he could not turn down the screams.
He died to bullet that sadly brings to death many a honorable Vet.
Lady Liberty reaches her hand to console,
another daughter whose Dad will never come home.

Then Roy, who breathed all the toxic tank emissions and took ammunitions,
saw 60% of his troops die within minutes.
His lungs are torn from years of fumes,
yet in his voice his has no scorn,
as he tells the man, next door, in the hospital bed,
he was lucky,
unlike so many who were laid to rest.
I never heard him complain.
He is given appointments
"when they can find some time to fit him in'
As the time goes he waits and waits
until cancer is all his is.
Yet he finds it in his warrior heart and last days
to visit his ailing friend a Veteran, my father.

The soldier's daughter begs for doctors to save Roy
and prays petitions to intercede.
In the end it is 'the stranger',
a Vietnam Veteran's long lost daughter,
who is there to hold his hand,
awaiting death.
As his coughs turn to gasps and takes his last breathe.

She heard him call out to his friends,
the fallen soldiers,
whose names are to many a word on The Wall,
to him these men have never gone.
As he dies she hears him calls out their names,
as come to guide their brother on this last battle road.
The flight jackets are ready,
they assure their friend and it won't be long
you are never alone,
he hears them say
the day is fine with blue skies for clear flying
for this soldier who never forgot his friends,
the buried vets
.... as the angels come to take him home.

Will she ever forget how she saw him in box on the street,
in the cold, all alone?
She wonders were it all went wrong.
For too many years, he heard the screams of soldiers dying,
and TV shows of combat, the new war,
bombarded and tore through his soul.
In the news all that was heard was a system lying.

All he knew was more soldiers, soldiers dying
These were the thoughts in his head,
that broke his marriage to the sweetheart he had wed
thirty years or a lifetime ago.
His life in the hand of a system too slow.
One night the cold winter air took his breath
as he found the only bed he was given was death.

They tell us we'll do better with these boys this time,
the ones who make it home.
We will try our new therapeutic tone
and have a new pill that will surely make them forget hell.
We promise to reopen some closed homes to find the homeless Vets beds.
But the money for this care,
is used to buy new toys,
and feed the war machine.
The Veterans are left with no funds for care,
in black, blood soaked, water the war coffers grow,
in secrets only the financial planners know.

She heard the WW2 Veteran listen politely
as he is told to be more patient, again,
and she can't get rid of the sight,
seeing him suffer in squalor.
"Help is on the way", they all say,
and this goes on day after day.
She notices how the curtains are drawn
to never have this image see the light of day.
As he stares at the ceiling with nothing to say,
he lives in his battle torn mind,
where there was and is no peace to ever be found.

The nurse tells her to stop all the ruckus,
she finds she has no choice but to raise her voice to a holler.
Still they try to beat her down with blank stares and compassionless glares.
Lady Liberty has donned a megaphone
so she yells,
"Please help this man!"
"It is our duty to care for these men who sacrificed so much!"
Yet, the only hope just walks away,
it is the end of just another work day.

In a quiet voice, not much louder than a whisper,
he did tell,
"This nightmare of dying with no care is nothing
when you have already been to and lived in hell"

I saw with my own eyes,
It is only these Veteran brothers
who really care what stories you have to tell.
They are the ones who will take the time to be by your side.
Living an honor like no others.
Every soldier I met is your true brother,
See how they never fail, as you lay dying,
as they wipe your daughter's tears,
as if they'd known her for years.

But the "brother" who the courts declare is your next of kin,
has been stealing your VA bankroll,
as the appointed judge sits in sin.
This snotty cat will only hiss
and dismiss the voice that speaks
for the soldier's toll of lost dignity and justice remiss.

So come the young, the bright,
the strong, lay down your weapon,
and your rights.
Where no one will fight for your care,
but you will see our stickers and flags,
a small token,
for a life so broken.

The children who see your oddity will just stare,
never knowing the sacrifices of freedom you bear.
The judge will sit cold hearted, eyes in an icy stare.
This is my father and his brothers
who they mock, provoke, and forget
as they bang their gavel
to dismiss and assure the untimely death of another Vet.

Despite her cries, the system wins again
with one less check to write,
one more bed to fill,
as the flag draped coffin is laid to rest.

He fought for your country long ago
and was given nothing but the run around.
He leaves nothing in this world,
as they lower his body into the hard ground,
but his long lost daughter, who grieves for all the soldiers
their daughters, sons, friends, mothers, and fathers.

Who holds the rights and the funds to care for all those
who did not run and hide?
Many Veterans, who fought for the freedoms you enjoy each day,
live in a world you are fortunate to never know.
On Veteran's Day what will your actions show?

His "brother" makes the coffins,
he showed me them stacked high on the wall,
a horrific sight,
as he proudly said, "Our business is good."
"We make the boxes in which the boys come home."
Visions of untimely death arrive in the secret cloak of night.
The system just watches as they steal it all,
from the men who came home unwhole.

Once he was a strong warrior:
The few, the proud, the brave, the bold.
The old soldier is left to rot in feces and poisonous blood,
while the insurgents and prisoners are given laws to protect
and their very right to life.
He is left to die in story never told.

Dialysis the only thing that could sustain him
and end his strife.
These are denied to him,
by VA red-tape,
legalities that take too much time,
and laws that are muddled in federal and state.
He lives on in a miraculous fight
in war against death, where wrong is said to be right.

The ones who lived the system know far too well,
the story of your homecoming
for your service and protecting this land.
The young soldier is told,
"your PTSD psychoanalysis appointments are
coming soon, maybe we will have time for you next month.
In the meantime with life of a shadow a ruin,
forget you hold that gun in your hand."
His mother finds him
as Lady Liberty shed tears that flood the land.

No action or money to protect those that served
the dawns morning light shines on
Lady Liberty
as she hang her head in shame.

The wounded and dying soldier's I've met have shown their true colors,
of red, white and blue,
living lives of the star spangled banner
and holding the founding father's beliefs true.
They 'are' the home of the brave
A brotherhood of high order,
Which the system will not save.
But no government red-tape or grave can steal,
the memories of men so real.
I bow my head and feel
humbled their stories, sacrifices, and valor.

As the weathered soldier struggles
with his own illness, cancer.
He goes to get a wheelchair
to take his dying brother home
for his last home-cooked meal.
For the moment,
a dying Veteran is free of all his years
suffering war trauma,
his symptoms soften.
They only met a week ago,
at the hospital,
always looking out for each other.
A stranger you may say.
But this a story of American Soldier
and they are above all brothers.

These men deserve care far above the rest,
the men who live in a never ending war drama,
yet we have failed to give them our best.

Meet Stanley, no chemo could keep him from living his ideal,
always fighting for the rights of all who served by his side,
even if another place and time.
A bond that is stronger than blood,
deep and real
no man or laws could keep them apart.
She vows to do her part to change the tide,
not knowing where to start,
this is a Vietnam Veteran daughter's rhyme.

Lady Liberty holds her head high,
as the flag of the American Revolution hangs silent in night sky,
watching over the graveyards of all the brave men who died.
The call of justice is nigh,
as a soldier's daughter hangs her head to cry,
she comforts a soldier's daughter passing by.
A bellowing breaks the silence of those underserved.
Lady Liberty smiles as their lost voice will finally be heard.

Veterans lay dying in a under-funded system,
Veterans are living on the streets, one of every three you see.
A Veteran attends his church service in nothing but rags.
A brain injured soldier returns not remembering his name.
A veteran comes home lame, hoping to be able to walk again.
A woman who cannot put her thoughts in order,
as she trying to care for her bright eyed toddler.
A veteran in need of medical care is being told to wait.
A veteran succumbs to suicide, to tired to play the game.
A mentally ill Veteran is committed as the judge seals his fate.
Another mother hears the doorbell ring,
as she given her child's dog tags.

Copyright © 2007 - Kristin Lee
Published: 12/20/07   ·  Author's Page   ·  Next Poem