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An American Hero

©2015 by Jon Gutmacher

I wrote this poem back in 2015 after the death of Chris Kyle, a Navy seal who is perhaps the greatest sniper who ever lived. He served four tours in the War in Iraq, and was a hero to all of those he served with.  He came home deeply affected by the war, with severe PTSD, but pulled himself together, and dedicated himself to his family, and trying to help other troubled war vets.  He was untimely killed by one of those vets while trying to assist him.  A tragedy for all of America, for he deserved so much more from all of us.  The poem is a tribute to Chris, and to all of those who gave their lives for this honored Nation.  It is a “best poem”, and one of the most moving you will ever read.  The “muffled drums” within the poem are a tradition in a military parade to a fallen hero.  The poem follows:


I hear the muffled drums
in the distance
People stop
some shed tears
men remove their hats
others place a hand over their heart
remembering what you did
and who you were

And the muffled drums
come closer

An American hero
has come home

He returns home
flag draped
lying prone
eyes no longer able to see
senses no longer able to feel
restrained forever from the joy of his
friends and family
and passed far beyond this once endeared place
Where so many have come out
to honor him

Four tours in a distant land
but a profound sense of duty that drove him on
to live in a hostile land
and do what so few others were willing
to do

And the sound of the muffled drums
comes closer
ever closer

An American hero
has come home

He gave his life
to protect his country
and all that he held dear
only to return
in gloried sorrow
to a nation that can never mourn his loss

Honored son
dear friend
devoted father
noble warrior
One whose valor never diminished

May the tears of the many
line the road as you pass
from those who can never repay this
your greatest sacrifice

And the muffled drums come closer
ever closer
to honor one of their own

An American Hero
has come home

My heart races
my breathing tightens
I feel the lump in my throat
as I try to force back tears that I cannot
for now comes
that most dreaded of moments
when the reality of your loss finally hits me
as I see your casket pass by

Flag draped, set in a carriage
drawn by four noble black steeds
with Honor Guard flags lowered
as the procession slowly winds its way
through the town where you grew up
and to that honored place
from whence all find their final rest

And like so many others
I am overwhelmed
and fall in and join the procession
of each and all your townsfolk
to honor one of our own

For an American Hero
has finally
come home

The background image is from the funeral procession of Chris Kyle.
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