It is Veterans Day, here in California.
As it is all over the United States:
Post offices and banks are closed.
All sizes of children, out of school for the day,
adorn the grassy fields
like pink moist jewels,
shoes and sweaters lying abandoned
while the air is just beginning to chill
with the breath of impending winter.
I sit here in the park on a bench alone
Watching the young tight bodies
turn somersaults on the high bards,
see the skateboarders whiz past
in their fight against gravity,
sailing off into air rich with hope.
This is why, I think almost aloud.
This is why they fought, some died.
For these children who will inherit our world:
those teenaged girls texting rapidly,
thumbs a moving blur,
young mothers talking into blue-tooth ear pieces
while their babies handle
the unwieldiness of training wheels.
They died so that all here might live free lives,
ideas of democracy changing
in ways those father and daughters and brothers
could not have imagined back then.
But they still fought, principle and ideology
twined together, steeped in our tradition of blood.
For us, they fought.
I bow my head to them today.
In thanks for all they who came before have done.
Nancy Hofmann is a Scotts Valley poet who is part of a free writing group that meets in the area once a month. For information, 335-9394.