In the Garden of Returning Heroes (prose poem)

In honor of President Barack Hussein Obama, 44th President of the United States of America

Flights of the Fallen continue to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. A river of the fallen has been transported to and then from that place; the river at times has been swift and  deep and at others slow and shallow, but always unending.

Two administrations believed that Americans would want to avert their eyes from the planes landing and from details in dress uniform slow marching flag draped coffins onto tarmac.    I believe we must watch, and hold these families and their  loved ones in our thoughts and regard for as long as the flames burn at places such as Arlington. We may now watch and   media representatives may be present (if the families permit).

 After a Flight of the Fallen, a new President stood solemn    vigil as eighteen coffins were unloaded from a plane flown    from Afghanistan one early morning in late October 2009.

At Dover, an architecture of grief and healing, solace and comfort is being built. Near a mortuary center with its foyer and reflecting pool, a newly built Center for Families of the Fallen takes shape. Ground has been broken for a meditation pavilion, suites of rooms for several families, and a garden.       In short, a sanctuary is taking shape – a place where families and pride and grief may collect, pool, and well over.

This, then, is a way station on the journey to hallowed ground at Arlington, or to another national cemetery in a Soldier’s state, a cemetery in a Marine’s city, or to a family plot in a Sailor’s home town, or to a niche in an Airman’s home. 

Still, even at this moment a Flight of the Fallen may be   landing. The loved one might be a mother or a father, a son      or a daughter, an uncle or a niece, an aunt or a nephew.

The inconsolable gather in the garden of returning heroes to celebrate this life and to prepare for witnessing this return.

About Andrew Shattuck McBride

I am a writer, editor, writing coach, and consultant. I work in a variety of genres, including poetry, short stories, and creative non-fiction. I also have a couple of novels simmering on back burners. THANK YOU to Nan Macy of Village Books for taking this photo (June 2011).
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1 Response to In the Garden of Returning Heroes (prose poem)

  1. I am an advocate for peace and remain dedicated to working for peace on behalf of all peoples.

    However, as a former military man, I honor the memory of our Fallen. I believe that we must do everything we can to take care of our men and women returning home, especially if they have suffered physical or psychological injuries.

    Note: I haven’t been able to figure out how to maintain formatting and line breaks for poems I post here in WordPress, so the line breaks for “In the Garden of Returning Heroes” aren’t quite as I wanted.

    With warm regards, Andy

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