All my life, I have waited to be asked
To sacrifice something for my country
Not myself alone or those who suffer too much
Even in the best of times.
But the rest of us, the comfortable, satisfied, secure
Who did not go to war when others did
Who prospered while others lost their homes and livelihoods.
In my parents’ time, a Great Depression and World War.
Everyone sacrificed something- meat, butter, nylons, lives.
The Greatest Generation and we, their children
Dreaming of a better world
But no one asked for sacrifice.
Our leaders sent guns to Vietnam and fed us butter,
Afraid to ask us to pay for their foolish war.
After 9/11, this command to patriots:
Crowd the shopping malls
Spend our way to safety
Lest the economy stumble
And cost more than towers and lives.
Now comes at last the request for sacrifice
•Use up what I have
•Take no more than I need
•Share what I can
•Be patient and kind
•Open my heart to needs greater than mine
Lessons for children, simple and hard.
Looking back, what will matter?
How well I paid attention,
How much I gave away.