This past Memorial Day I attended a deployment ceremony at the Niagara Falls Air Base.  I was invited by my friend Vince who was heading to Afghanistan with the 107th Air Wing.  A few minutes before he headed to the tarmac to board the C130, he came up to me and handed me a piece of paper with a poem he wrote while serving in Iraq.  To be honest I read the first few lines and then stuffed it in my pocket.  Today I remembered I had it and handed it to a co-worker to read.  After a few moments she looked up with tears in her eyes and that's when I thought maybe I ought to read the rest of it. 

I wipe the sleep from my eyes thinking when will it end?I know what it’s for, the voice tells me it’s soon.

I open my door to get air, and I can see the moon.Start putting my uniform on, and as I tighten my belt

Words can’t explain, the feeling I felt.

As I walk through tent city, with my boots laced tight
I hear the choppers above me, flying in the dark of night

I get to the fire station, most everyone is there
As the lights shine from the flight line, you see breath in the air.

I make my way to the chaplain, everyone knows the drill
Sad to say it’s not the first one, but I still get that chill.

Everyone forms up, in two columns or more.
Not more than twenty in each, or less than four.

I start giving commands, and they come from my gut
But when our hero arrives, I have them all formed up.

With a forward march, we head to the plane very slow
Our hero behind us, parking lights a glow.

When the first hand reaches the handle, the colonel gives the command
We give a salute, with a slow steady hand.

I stand my tallest, shoulders straight and chin high
I want to look extra sharp, as our hero goes by.

We all gather in prayer, the chaplain gives the cross sign
No matter how often I do it, it gets harder each time.

With a final salute, after the chaplain’s Amen
I was proud to be in the presence of such hero’s like them.

Written by Sgt Vincent K.
of the 107th Air Wing, New York State