I Am A Veteran

I am a veteran.
Once a young patriot who had volunteered,
To join the military.
And it was clear a sacrificing of my life,
Was a possibility.
And yet the thought of it did not frighten me.

I am a veteran.
I did not decide,
To slide over onto Candadian borders...
Thinking I could avoid my responsibility.
With an escaping of a draft I did not receive.
I wanted to protect those deserving of freedom.

I am a veteran.
One of the Vietnam War Era.
I didn't walk the halls of an Ivy League college.
To party in between studying for a degree.
But I did take college courses and studied diligently,
While also performing my military duties.

I am a veteran.
One who is Black 'and' American AND proud to be.
But as a veteran I have learned,
The battles I continue to fight...
Are needlessly fought on the streets of my own country.
With people who did not serve a duty at all...
But feel they are more deserving of entitlements,
And a respect not shown to me.

I AM a veteran.
But yet I am expected to support,
Those who feed their greed.
As I am perceived,
Not to be worthy!
And so hard it is for me not to believe,
The color of my skin is the reason for that.

I am a veteran.
Conditioned to aware of the facts.

by Lawrence S. Pertillar

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