If I Return

If I Return

From Chicken Soup for the Military Wife's Soul

If I Return

The silence that accepts merit as the most natural thing in the world is the highest applause.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

If I return from battle, I do not know if I will stand alone or be helped by a comrade.

I do not know if my limbs will be there or if my eyes will see.

But I will know deep within my soul that I have served my country and that I have set man free.

I would like to see the yellow ribbons, worn in your hair, on your lapels or on the “old oak tree.”

I would like to know that they are worn with pride and that you truly prayed for me.

To know that you supported me in everything that I did when I obeyed the high command.

I was doing what man has done to free the world of tyranny.

When I left I was in my youth, too young to vote or buy a beer.

When I returned, aged, worn and tired, seeing too much, being alone and truly knowing fear.

Yes, I was in harm’s way, I did not have the opportunity to ask why.

Was it because what I did would make man free or was it because freedom would pass me by?

Free to know that in my heart I have pride in my fellow man and myself.

Proud to know that I have served my country and my country is still a free land.

If you see me on the street, will you call me a baby killer?

Will you spit on my uniform when you see the battle ribbons on my chest?

If you cannot take my hand and say “well done,” pass me when we meet.

For I have served you and my country, and I have served my very best.

Sharon C. Stephens Trippe

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