He steps out and stands up straight. The tan camouflage uniform contrasts his ebony skin.
I pick up the worn, spiral-bound notebook from the passenger seat beside me and flip to a blank page.
I put pencil to paper and words come.
As I write, he returns. Dressed in plain clothes - just like any other man - uniform folded and tucked into the duffel bag on his shoulder.
Perhaps if the poem had been finished, I could have crossed the parking lot to meet him, to smile into his tired eyes, to tuck folded paper into his hand - a humble thanks for his service.
But I didn't.
And he went on his way, unaware of the girl watching from a distance, writing of bravery and honor and truth.
Dear Soldier, this one is for you:
Slow swing, steady step
Easy stride and lifted head
Camoflauge of green and tan
Sure of purpose, strong of hand
Dreams and goals of patriot true
May many take hat off to you
Fight and defend our country brave
Not knowing what rights you may save
And youth look up with open awe
Aspire to be the man you are
Atand unashamed in uniform
For it displays all you stand for -
The flag that waves with colors bright
Over eagle's wings and future-sight
Over independence, hope, and dreams
Over second chances and standing free
Over family values and morals pure
Over innocence and justice sure
Though gradually we've turned away
From founded goals and dreams once made
From guidence good men gave to us
We've let it go and turned to lust
For money and power and glory and fame
We've come up empty and lost the way
And so we need men such as you
To stand up strong and fight for truth
To go out brave with head held high
And pave the way for future bright