The Marching Men By Ray Daley

11 Nov
The Marching Men By Ray Daley
11/11/16
 
I can hear them singing before I see them, they don’t come into view for at least another five minutes. And they’re singing the old songs I used to hear Daddy singing.
 
And some of them are crying, just like he used to when he was singing.
 
I can see a young boy standing near me asking “Why are they crying? Are they sad?” so I tell him what Daddy used to tell me before he went away forever.
 
“They’re remembering their old friends. They aren’t sad tears, those are happy tears,” I say.
 
Then the boy smiles, he’s glad they aren’t sad tears.
 
Back when Daddy used to cry, I’d always hug him and he’d hold my hand oh so tightly. “Never gonna let you slip away Johnny. Stay with me Johnny, just hold on a few more minutes.”
 
I was 12 before I found out who he was really talking to.
 
A man in a uniform knocked on our door one day, asking to speak to my mother. “My father gave me this, he wanted you to have it now. I’m sorry for your loss, Ma’am.” He’d given her a medal won by his father, someone Daddy once called brother and friend. but mostly called him Johnny.
 
“He saved a man’s life once, you should know that,” Mother told me.
 
So we come each year to watch the marching men go by, singing their old songs, remembering their old friends. Each year there are less of them, so it’s our job to remember their faces, remember their songs, and above all to remember their stories.
 
So we never repeat their mistakes.
 
So now I remember Daddy. And I remember Johnny too.
 
And we hope we’ll never have to march this way again.
 
THE END.
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