The names engraved upon a wall that bore them solemnly
With arms held tight against her chest to fight the growing chill
She read the names of lives cut short, and dreams left unfulfilled
Ahead of her she saw a man with weathered haunted face
Who sat upon his chair of wheels, that brought him to this place
She watched him as with withered hand he tried to touch a name
But struggle as he might, the strength he needed never came
She walked to him and slowly kneeled, and looked into his eyes
Said, "Sir, I'll help you touch the name that you have recognized."
With shaking voice he answered her, a gruffness to his tone
"I need no help, if it takes all day I'll touch this wall alone.
My limbs may be of little use, but for all that I may lack
So far from home this boy's life ceased, at least I made it back.
I owe him now to find the strength to touch this wall alone
To honor my friend's memory, and how briefly his light shone."
She gathered her words carefully as she gazed upon his face
"We all have different reasons, Sir, for coming to this place.
I was just a little girl when you were over there
And could never hope to understand the pain that you still bear.
But those of us who stayed behind were touched in our own way
We bear the scars of love ones lost in places far away.
Our brothers, fathers, sisters who returned not quite the same
We watched with helpless agony, and wished to ease their pain.
We none of us were left untouched by all that you went through
And you'd be helping me, Sir, by letting me help you."
He nodded slightly - wordlessly - and offered her his hand
Then woman, weary soldier, little girl, and lost young man
Whispering together, "Buddy, this is from us all"
Reached out, hand in hand, and touched the name upon the wall.