And the troops go marching proudly by as she wipes a tear from her weary eyes. For the one that she seeks, she will never again hold, for he died at his post; he was thirty years old. The colours fly high on a cool autumn breeze as man and boy march with well practiced ease. So glad to be home after being so brave, with flags overhead and not covering their graves. She can bare it no longer as tears start to flow down pale damp cheeks as she sways to and fro, too much of their blood spilled on foreign fields at the whim of the tyrants and their deadly deals. Friends hold her up with compassion and love and so many look down from the heavens above, surrounded by many who share in her grief but the feelings yield little by way of relief. § And the troops go marching with heads held high, ribbons on tunics for brave deeds gone by. Each feels the loss of their friends and their kin, and trauma buried deep beneath a mask worn so thin. They’ve experienced things that just shouldn’t be done, in the name of freedom, down the barrel of a gun. The memories will haunt them for the rest of their lives as they try to return to their children and wives. But in truth and reality, how can any return to their previous lives after all they have learned, no love and compassion; no laughter and smiles can replace what was lost across many long miles. They’ve all left behind their innocent souls, dead and buried in deep desert holes, leaving them drained and with aching hearts for a love and a life that has been torn apart. § And the troops go marching so silently by on streets lined with people; cheering and cries. But she turns her back on this painful parade, wishing time could roll back and her son would be safe. And there’s rage in her heart for the tyrants who sent so many to their deaths; so much blood spilled and spent as they cover their coffers; their spoils of war, like ghouls in the shadows keeping count of their score. Rubbing their hands and patting their backs lying and cheating and covering their tracks. Another quick round in their wretched games, the dice from the dealer dishing out death and pain. The survivors will never sleep soundly again, for the loss and the scars will always remain. The ghosts of their past, ever present and near, taunting as they sink into depression and fear. § And the troops go marching oh so slowly by, some holding back, some with tears in their eyes. For the nightmare lives on in the world far and wide, where so many remain and so many have died. * Written by Darren Scanlon, 24th August 2015. ©2015 Darren Scanlon. All rights reserved.