What Were They Thinking Behind Those Eyes

Subjects cropped from File photo/The Cannoneer/Fort Sill Public Affairs

W ith the weight of too many futures on their shoulders,
as loved ones waved farewell to their departing planes
or just stood weeping, watching them sail from view,
what were our soldiers thinking behind those panes?

File photo/The Cannoneer/Fort Sill Public Affairs

W hat quarantined thoughts lay behind those eyes,
those well-trained pupils taught to suppress emotion,
as, steeled-for-war, they survived the good-byes
turning their eyes to brothers over the ocean?

IRAQ (March 28, 2003) - Armored vehicles from TF 3-69 roll north toward Al Samawa, Iraq March 22. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Craig Zentkovich

W hat were they thinking as they stormed across Iraq
as arid miles and frazzled days of blinding sand
and little sleep crawled its way up their weary backs;
What were they thinking, these warriors on command?


W ith strategic missions to stop a tyrant's heinous crimes,
with enemy forces hoping to blow them to kingdom come,
as blood gushed daily in streetfights rising over time,
what were they thinking, or were they simply growing numb?


W hat went on behind those frozen eyes and stoic faces. . .
hope that from more attacks the enemy would refrain
so they could all go "home sweet home". . .of all places?
What were they thinking, they might resume their lives again?

BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan -- Senior Airman Patrick Blevins sends a message to his wife, Kristy, and his unborn son during a national television news broadcast Nov. 30. The baby is expected to be born Jan. 16. Blevins is deployed here from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. He is assigned to the 354th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron's ammo flight. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Brian Davidson)

W ith the desperate need for allies just a fantasy affair,
what were they thinking as they learned the bitter truth...
there were no weapons of mass destruction hiding there
all their exhaustive efforts providing no proof?

Subject cropped from File photo/The Cannoneer/Fort Sill Public Affairs

W ith their tours of duty over, eager to be going home,
where loved ones waited, anxious for that special day
when loving "arms" would replace the bombs they've known,
what were they thinking when they were ordered to stay?

File photo/The Cannoneer/Fort Sill Public Affairs

W hat were they thinking as the fatalities were miscounted,
as comrades were finally buried without a sign of their chief,
as one-by-one, the number of dead and wounded mounted
as war pre-emptive grew more defensive with no relief?

Three roses lie on the boots of Staff Sgt. Justin Galewski, an EOD (explosive ordnance disposal) soldier who was killed, along with three other service members, April 15, when rockets they were attempting to destroy accidentally exploded. Galewski was a native of Olathe, Kan. The soldiers' personal effects were displayed during a memorial service April 18 at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Elizabeth Casebeer, 314th Press Camp Headquarters)

W hat were they thinking when they thought nobody could see
their hearts leaking down their cheeks. . .in a final good-bye
to their buddy, who lost his life just trying to set some free
from those terrorist bastards? God, what were they thinking?

File photo/The Cannoneer/Fort Sill Public Affairs

Photo Title - 'THE IMPACT OF BOOTS ON THE GROUND'-- U.S. Navy sailors are some of the best-trained military forces in the world; they are trained to fight and have all the modern tools of warfare. But for Navy Seabees deployed into Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom, their most potent weapon was the ability to reach out and make a favorable impression on the local people. The American sailor deployed overseas must not only be a war fighter, but an ambassador for all the values of the Navy and country. This photo received Honorable Mention in the 2004 Military Photographer of the Year Contest Photographer Arlo Abrahamson, PH1, USN)

W ith the weight of too many futures on their shoulders,
what elusive dream do they cling to behind those eyes
as hungry children smile and wave. . .in awe of soldiers
tossing sweets; while down the street, another victim dies?

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April 20, 2004...
Friendly Iraqi children put their hands on a Soldier’s shoulder in Sadr City, Iraq. The soldier is assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division’s Company B, 1st Battalion, 12th Calvary Regiment. He was conducting a patrol in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. This photo appeared on www.army.mil

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