Traveling Boots

In uniform, and
frozen in time
but the world
does
not
wait

Cautiously
we patrol
littered
unknown
dirt
streets

Shoeless children pour
out of shacks
and
into
our
mission path

Dusty boots
take careful
steps
making
footprints
in some
hearts

We smile with guns
trying to
protect
and
make
friends

The enemy hides
among
innocent
faces
of
despair

Grand mountains
stand tall
guarding
secrets of
pain,
terror

Hope sprinkles
into hearts
settling
the dust
of history
and loss

Together
we stand
against
the
evil
in the world

Peace slowly
blooms
with the
fragility
of a
flower

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For dVerse’s Adventures in Traveling.

This is a mix of memories from my times on deployment patrols. I remember the faces of people in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. A mix of hope and fear of our presence. The odd feeling of giving friendly smiles while holding rifles. We wanted to provide comfort to the good while fight the bad. However, you never really knew who was on what side for sure.

Fortunately, I was always on mild patrols where the heightened awareness and small incidents were the main forms of stress. I can only imagine the memories of my comrades who experienced much more intense scenarios.

To them, I hope they find the peace they wanted to help give.

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39 thoughts on “Traveling Boots

  1. Pingback: Dance Into Love and March OPF | The World Is a Book...

  2. Such a difficult place to be in…holding a weapon and having to be ready to use it and yet wanting to connect with and bring reassurance to the locals. I’m so grateful to you and the many others who took/take on this work of service. Thank you for sharing, Nato.
    Gayle~

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is an odd mix for sure. I do hope it made a difference. I know it did for me. I will never take what I have here in the states for granted again. And, I will always remember those faces looking at us. Some with fear. Some with hate. Some with hope.

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    • As ironic as it sounds, it is so true. I had never really thought of it that way until I sat down to write this…15 years and I finally saw the irony.

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    • Thank you. I certainly was not in any super scary situations. I have been very fortunate to be on “easy” patrols. However, I can say there were tense moments when we didn’t know some things or people. People got too close at times. Moved suddenly. You are on an extreme level of alertness, yet need to look calm and relaxed when trying to build rapport. It can be so exhausting and yet very rewarding. I can only hope we did make the differences we hoped and tired for. And YES, I pray the bloom of peace can grow like a hardy weed:)

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    • Thank you very much. I will always remember the faces of the little children running up to us. There eyes full of a little fear and wonder. I can only hope they remember our smiling faces and that we were trying to help them. Those kids are the future, and maybe just maybe, they can move their countries into peace little by little.

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  3. The boots walking and then patrolling for peace and never knowing who’s against you. No longer simple who to trust and who is on the opposite side. I hope those who have been involved in such action find peace too. This poem really conveys a desire to create peace.

    Liked by 1 person

    • At least from all the Soldiers I have spoken too, we all want peace. We are moved by the conditions and strength of people to thrive despite them. It also makes us more appreciative of all we are blessed with back home.

      Liked by 1 person

    • We have to trust them indeed. Many are just scared and don’t know how to escape the “bad guys.” I spoke to an Iraqi gentleman once, and he sounded no different than any other father. He wanted his kids to be healthy, happy and educated. Those things are just a lot harder when there is war in the street. 😦

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