This speech was delivered by an acquaintance of mine, a 3 tour veteran in VietNam, on Memorial Day, 2005, in Cambridge, OH, and is reprinted here with his permission. This is what it's all about.

Good Morning, everyone and thank you for being here. God Bless America.

My name is Dana Brown and I am a Vietnam veteran.
Iíd like to say a few short words, then read you a poem I have written, that has become somewhat popular.

You have just watched the bands, the fire trucks, the floats, and the marchers in our parade today. But to me, the best part of the parade was when the American flag went by. Americans have been fighting for that flag for hundreds of years. Over 1 million have died for it. They didnít fight for their President, many didnít even vote for the President in office at the time. They didnít fight for their Captains, Commanders, or their Generals. They fought for the flag, and died for it.

At a veteranís funeral, a flag is draped over the coffin. It is then, at the end of the funeral, folded with great dignity and ceremony, and handed to the mother, or son, or daughter of that veteran. They are not giving them just a flag. They are giving them a symbol of what that veteran fought and died for. A symbol of what that veteran believed in, a symbol of that veterans love for his country, a love deep enough to fight and die for.

When I salute that flag, I am saluting those one million plus men and women who have died for that flag. When my hand covers my heart for the flag, it is because those soldiers arenít dead to me. They are my brothers and sisters, fellow veterans, and they are in my heart, never to be forgotten.
Iíd like to read what is on the memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, where 285,000 veterans lie.
Not for fame or reward, not for place or rank, not lured by ambition, or goaded by necessity, but in simple obedience to duty as they understood it, these men suffered all, sacrificed all, dared all, and died.

Shortly after they finished the Vietnam Veterans memorial Wall in Washington, I had the honor to go and see it. A year or two later I saw a picture start showing up at VFWís.  It portrayed a veteran standing, touching the wall, and crying, and a ghostly soldier in the wall, touching back. That inspired me to write this poem.

I stood up straight, I stood up tall,
As I took those final steps to "The Wall."
My hands were shaking, my eyes were blurred,
And in my heart, my soul, I heard;

Tell my wife, tell my son, tell my Father too.
I left my blood in a foreign land,
As my country asked me to.
Don't grieve for me, I'm long past pain,
but I know the hurt is there.
Just remember what WAR has done, to people everywhere.
We're all here together now, the friends And the foes.
We've all got something to tell you,
And this is how it goes.
The spark of life, in us ALL, was given us by God.
Who is man, to take it away, by gun, by knife, by rod?

I shook my head, I started to cry, I wondered if it was real.
I felt the pain of a million souls, my stomach had a chill.
I knew then, what it was, that made me come here now.
It hit me hard, those words I heard, and so I made this vow.
I'll do my best, to give the word, to every one that listens.
When man makes war, and kills his brothers,
Rapes and plunders, and imprisons,
The final days up in Heaven, we are all together.
Right or wrong, no matter the cause, we are ALL linked,
Held by Gods sacred tether.

To all the veterans here today, welcome home, brothers and sisters. God bless our fallen brothers and sisters, God bless our flag, God bless America and God Bless you all. Thank you.

copyright©2005 Dana J Brown
Contact Dana at  

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