I know now why ...
I know now why men who have been to war yearn to reunite.
Not to tell stories or look at old pictures.
Not to laugh or weep on one another's knee.
Comrades gather because they long to be with men who once acted their best,
men who suffered and sacrificed,
who were stripped raw,
right down to their humanity.
I did not pick these men.
They were delivered by fate and the U. S. Marine Corps.
But I know them in a way I know no other men.
I have never since given anyone such trust.
They were willing to guard something more precious than my life.
They would have carried my reputation,
the memory of me.
It was part of the bargain we all made,
the reason we were so willing to die for one another.
I cannot say where we are headed.
Ours are not perfect friendships;
those are the province of legend and myth.
A few of my comrades drift far from me now,
sending back only occasional word.
I know that one day even these could fall to silence.
Some of these men will stay close,
always at hand.
As long as I have memory,
I will think of them all,
I am sure that when I leave this world,
my last thoughts will be of my family ---
and my comrades,
such good men.
Reprinted with the permission of the Author,
Taken from his book,
"These good men: Friendships Forged From War",
the chapter titled, Reunions, Page 293.
Norman was a Marine with Golf 2/9, 1967 - 1969