FOR MY BROTHER JOEY
The announcement was sudden and quite unexpected
Submitted by: KSac1980
My dad stood motionless, my mom looked dejected
My eyes filled with awe; I stared at my brother
He had made this decision without asking another
My dad, troubled but proud, hugged him and asked,
”Have you thought this through? Are you up to this task?”
“You are 18 years old with a High School education.”
The words of a father, voice of contemplation.
Joey is strong in body and stable in mind
This test would leave his courage defined.
He had made his decision, signed up as a recruit
It seemed this was final and not up for dispute.
Mom had been silent in complete disbelief.
Her eyes filled with sadness and heart filled with grief.
She barely could talk as she choked back her tears,
“When giving birth to a son, this was my greatest fear.”
Joey held her close and said not to be scared.
He knew what to expect and felt very prepared.
“The world is calm now and no need for war,
I’ve always wanted to join the Marine Corps.”
He left June 13 2005
It was a terrible moment, one I’ll never forget.
Boot camp awaited and it was time for goodbye
We prayed that three months would soon fly by.
Joey walked to his car and gave me a wave
I wondered out loud how he could be so brave
I wanted to stop him and beg him to stay
We waited for letters and prayed everyday
Graduation soon came and we anxiously waited
To see our Marine this Corps had created
Soon came an announcement and he marched into sight
“There he is, There he is,” we exclaimed with delight.
Who was this thin, strong, strapping young man?
“Didn’t they feed him and look at that tan!”
We smothered him with hugs and words of adoration
Emotions ran high during that graduation.
A 9 month commitment with almost 1 year complete
He’s a man of 19 with a new career at his feet.
The word came by letter and asked them to report
They had 48 hours to get ready to deport.
I arrived at my mothers; she greeted me at the door
I looked in her eyes and braced myself for
The news that awaited and despite my prayers
They needed more in Iraq and Joey soon would be there.
I fell into her arms and she held me so tight
“He’s tried to reach you and will call back tonight.
Now Kristen, be strong for your Mother’s sake”.
I nodded, breathed deeply, yet felt my heart break.
Her eyes glistened with tears and they fell down her face
“This never gets easier, no matter the case.”
Her husband, her son and now her grandchild
Yet somehow she managed to keep emotions compiled.
This must come with wisdom, experience and age
For I felt myself reeling and seething with rage
Yet I knew she was right, keep positive perspective Face down our fears and maintain objective.
My parents arrived and I stared at the door
awaiting their reactions, wondering if they knew more
My mom’s eyes were red, tired and swollen
My dad’s face was blank, yet full of emotion.
We were all still in shock and unsure how to feel
Not sure whether to believe if this news was real
The Marine Corps is famous for changing their plans
Yet deep-down we knew it was all in God’s hands.
The phone rang and I knew it was Joey on the line
I picked up the receiver and tried hard not to cry
He sounded the same, calm and collected;
If he was afraid, his voice didn’t reflect it.
He was gathering his things, making last minute plans
Moving his belongings, saying goodbye to his friends.
My voice began to crack and tears filled my eyes
“Don’t worry Kristen I’ll be just fine.”
Days and nights passed and plans changed a bit
The departure delayed but not canceled yet.
Soon the inevitable came and he called with goodbye
His voice strong and steady yet different this time.
It was late in the afternoon when I arrived home that day
Dialed my voicemail and I heard him say,
“It may be some time before I call again
We’re boarding the plane, but don’t worry and when
They give us a chance, I’ll be in touch,
Have a good summer and I love you so much.”
I phoned my parents and mom answered the line,
“Kristen, we just have to believe that Joey will be fine.
He’s being strong for us, so we will do so for him,
I know in my heart, we will see him again.”
Mom bought yellow ribbons and we hung them from trees
They flow ever so gently with each passing breeze
There they will stay until Joey returns
As a reminder of our love, hope and concerns.
It was almost a month before the first word arrived
He was doing ok and trying his best to survive
The harsh desert heat, lack of showers and shelter
Sleeping in tents, his life all helter-skelter.
My dad grows more anxious with each passing moment
Questioning the motives of each political proponent
Are his son’s well-being & innocent Iraqi’s worth such destruction?
Is this truly about Saddam or just oil production?
Time moves so slowly as we wait for each call or letter
Just praying he’s safe and that conditions get better
We go through the motions, trying hard every day
To stay strong and have faith while he’s so far away.
His friends call and write to ask how he’s doing
To find out the latest and what plans are ensuing.
Many send their prayers, love and concern;
All wanting to know, of course, when he’ll return.
We’ll remain optimistic until that days comes
And continue to pray to The One up above:
God, bless him, keep him and protect him each day
Please help him and guide him to find the right way
May danger avoid him and hardship be gone
Please bring him back to us, where he belongs.
I love you, Joey. I miss you more everyday.
May God protect you and bring you home soon.
Your loving sister,