The Lost Edition: Change of Shift Vol. No.

Once upon a time, an over ambitious blogger had a dream. A goal really. To achieve the blogging version of a hat trick. She did the easy first, calling into the Dr. Anonymous Show. Bragging about doing the blogging trinity. His show, Grand Rounds and Change of Shift.

The show was a riot as usual.

Grand Rounds was a bit late.

Change of Shift?

Volunteering at the last minute was an opportunity I couldn’t resist. It fell near Veterans Day. A day near and dear to my heart as, most of you know, I continue to proudly serve. It came shortly after one of the most horrible tragedies in Army history.

It also fell on my blogging anniversary.

And the edition was almost lost to the depths of my failure.

Almost, but not quite.
As I reread the submissions for the edition, I was struck by the solemn nature of the posts. They were very unlike the majority of posts submitted to me in the past. The bulk submissions were absolutely non-existant. Instead, the posts are thick with introspection, contemplation and raw emotion.

I am confident in saying that this is one of the best collections of Change of Shift ever.

I would like to close with a few personal notes.

Thank you all for your support of not only myself, but all who are serving, and who have served. Sacrificing for the freedoms we all enjoy is much easier when it is done for a grateful nation.

I received permission from one of my dearest friends who served as an Army Medic and who currently serves as a civilian medic in Iraq to post the following, which he wrote.

Img 2226
Unknown “DUSTOFF” soldier
Viet Nam Memorial Wall, Washington, D.C.
photo by E. McGee

. . . to my brothers that are no longer with me, those that still serve and work with me and those that are still in harms way, your forever on my mind.

If I ever

If I ever
heard the sound
stillness in the moment of the news
The silent heart that lays
the quite of the men as I walk

If I ever
felt the warmth leave, the hand that lays
held on tight, nothing I can do to save the warmth
the warmth leaves, coldness comes..

If I ever
had to wash away the tears
clean the faces, clear the pockets
close the eyes

If I ever
witnessed life so true and bright
carried on by others in red white and blue
the eagle flies the heads bow

If I ever
looked into the face of mothers
eyes of warmth and tears
looked in the face of fathers
eyes of warmth and tears

If I ever
had to stand at the side
hands on brass, covered in white
felt the tightness of the tie
the weight of ribbons and names

If I ever
once stood with them
laughed with them
drank with them
sweat with them
cried with them

If I ever
had to look into the face of their children
held their hands
told them stories

If I ever
folded the flag
passed it over
raised my hand high, lowered it once more
held my tears back as I say goodbye

If I ever
walked behind the trees
shed my tears
remembered the faces
remembered their family

If I ever
looked to the sky
prayed for them
talked to them
as that sun fades

If I ever
placed the ribbons around the trees
placed the flags in front of white stones
read the names in rows and rows
found the few names that made me cry

If I ever
walked amongst white crosses
names of past names of present
the the union jack draped head high
surrounded by six
headed by one

if I ever
heard the 21 rounds
in honor of my friend
the drizzle of the rain
the sobbing of mothers

If I ever
could bring them back
take them home
bring them peace
know they are safe

If I ever
could make sure
not another one
goes in vain
but are held in peace and warmth
for everything they gave
for everything they left

If I ever
could open deaf ears
there are men here
they give and gave their lives
so others did not

If I ever
could make sure
the rich paid their debt
took care of their families
gave full honors to their name

If I ever let them forget
it is time for someone to take my place
I am VET

God be with my brothers and sisters
that are already gone before me
those that I knew
those that I never knew

Its time to open deaf ears, all of us together
open up deaf ears
warriors in charge to open up deaf ears
I am a vet

God take care of them If I ever…….

—-Kip Bradley

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