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I was not at your side as the blast stripped away hearing,
And the desert or the jungle went to light and fire in eerie silence.
It was not I who laid down fire,
And kept heads down as you crawled to safety.
I was not the comrade you saved,
By taking that risky shot,
Or who yelled obscenities into the sky,
As rounds pinged and sparked around us.
I was not there with you.
I did not have your back in this firefight or that one.
But I have seen your eyes go cold,
As leaders proclam the war is over.
I have seen you grit your teeth against the pain,
And struggle to your feet.
I have seen you duck into doorways,
Walking down main street.
And I have watched you stare into the past,
Your knuckles white around your glass.
I've seen the eyes that faced down death,
Turn aside from a home turned strange.
You are fathers, brothers, sisters, mothers.
Sent in our name into an obscenity,
That clings to you like the smell of powder,
And rests upon your shoulders like a pack.
It came home with you against your will,
As too many of those you served with did not.
I did not have your back in that firefight,
That day which changed everything.
I have your back in this,
 The fight to change it back.

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