From the Anthology 

Veterans’ Voices

Band of Brothers (and a Sister)

Irene T. Winslow

On the Enchantment of the Seas

At a veterans meet and greet

A gentleman thanked me for my service

And offered me his seat.

I always felt I didn’t give as much

As the men who served.

Among the war-hardened men

I definitely felt unnerved.

I, the lone woman, sat among

Ten men, all enlisted, save one,

Talking about their experiences

Now that the war is done.

I learned more about Viet Nam

Than I had heard in fifty years.

They are finally considered heroes

After coming home to jeers.

“You are one with us,”Kenny said.

You didn’t have to leave

Family, friends and home.

What we felt you can perceive.”

Until then I talked about

My military service seldom.

Now I felt included.

“Civilians don’t know the smell of freedom.”