Andrea C. Brett, author of "I am a Veteran",
recites her heartfelt, inspiring poem during a
Family show in Branson, Missouri in
You may not know me the first
time we meet,
I'm just another you see on the street.
But I am the reason you walk and breathe
I am the reason for your liberty,
I am a veteran.
I work in the local factory all day,
I own the restaurant just down the way,
I sell your insurance...
I start your IV,
I've got the best looking grandkids
you'll ever see.
I'm your grocer, your banker, your
I'm your plumber, your barber, your
But there's part of me you don't know
Just listen a moment, I've a story to
I am a veteran.
I joined the service while still in my
I traded my prom dress for camouflage
I'm the first in my family to do
something like this.
I followed my father like he followed
Defying my fears and hiding my doubt,
I married my sweetheart before I shipped
I missed Christmas, then Easter.
The birth of my son.
But I knew I was doing what had to be
I served on the battle front, I served
on the base.
I bound up the wounded and begged for
I gave orders to fire,
I followed commands,
I marched into conflict in far distant
In the jungle, the desert, on mountains
In bunkers, in tents, on dank earthen
While I fought on the ground, in the
air, on the sea,
My family and friends were home praying
For the land of the free and the home of
I faced my demons in foxholes and caves.
Then one dreaded day, without drummer or
I lost an arm, my buddy lost his life.
I came home and moved on, but forever
The perils of war in my memory remain.
I don't really say much. I don't feel
like I can,
But I left home a child,
And came home a man.
There are thousands like me,
Thousands more who are gone,
But their legacy lives as time marches
White crosses in rows,
And names carved in queue,
Remind us of what these brave souls had
I'm part of a fellowship,
A strong mighty band,
Of each man and each woman,
Who has served this great land.
And when old glory waves,
I stand proud,
I stand tall,
I helped keep her flying over you, over
I am a veteran.
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One of the greatest privileges our family has enjoyed since we began performing
in Branson, Missouri is meeting the veterans who come to our show every single
As I have spoken with
many of these men and women over the years, I have discovered time
and time again that some of the most amazing and inspiring stories
of sacrifice and service to our country come from the most common
people. Without their uniform to distinguish them from
everyone else in the crowd, they look just like you and I.
They come in all shapes, sizes, colors,
ages, and backgrounds, yet they share one very important bond ... military service
to the greatest country on earth. Behind each of their faces and in each of
their hearts is a story that most likely has gone untold or unheralded. Most of
them believe that their contribution was small ... just part of their duty ... but
it is these individual efforts that have combined into a mighty force for
freedom. These stories, in combination, make up the bigger story of America
itself ... a story of courage, sacrifice, faith, honor, love, and the commitment
to preserve and protect Her precious liberties.
The poem "I am a Veteran" was written to pay tribute to those who have written
this story. Each line or phrase in the poem is the voice of one of these men or
women; each represents an actual person that I have met or have been told
about. The poem is not about one veteran, but each and all. The words
represent only a sampling of the diverse experiences of our veterans ... it would
be impossible to cover them all ... therefore, it is intended more to symbolize
the sacrifice of all veterans and to honor them for the service they each
The poem was also written to cause anyone who reads or hears it to become more
aware of each man or woman they encounter in their everyday comings and goings.
Maybe he or she is a veteran. Maybe he or she had a part in securing
my freedoms. Maybe this
"common" person has performed uncommon service in
my behalf. If so, the ground we
share in our daily walk is truly sacred ground.
I have been told by many veterans that my poem has given them a voice. This is
the highest compliment I could possibly receive. It is an honor to speak for
any of these noble men and women who have given so much. It is with deepest
gratitude and humility that I offer "I am a Veteran" as my gift to these great
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