Made a Mistake

I thought I Made A Mistake
when I woke up late
this morning.

Stepped out of my door still yawning 

And as I started
Walking down the street I was approached by a man.
He was 6 ft tall and just by looking at him 

I could tell he didn’t really have it all.
He approached me with his hands out and asked for some change.
I tapped all of my pockets
As if I was deranged

And even though I knew I had a couple of dollars to spare

I replied,
“Sorry, I can’t help you.”
Without hesitation he walked away

as if that’s the response he got every day.
Boiling with feelings of regret
I called him back as I started to check
for my wallet again.
Before I could hand him anything he said, 

“Keep the money, I’d rather have your time anyway.”
Not understanding what he meant he asked me to sit down

to have a discussion.
Even though I didn’t trust him,
I agreed.
To lead,
I was asked a simple question.
“What does freedom mean to you?”
I was stuck.
The man looked at my face and continued to talk

Before I could even utter a single word.
“People don’t understand what it takes to earn and keep the peace.
It takes a piece
of brave men and women like me.
We see the Call of Duty
and run towards it
but it was
never a game.
And we don’t get to re-spawn every time we Make A Mistake.
I’ve seen people lose their legs

so politicians can still use theirs to run for office.
And then turn around to use their power

to cause more wars that they experience 

from the comfort of their corner office.
I was able
to serve a country that I thought would serve its people in return.
If you take
anything from this understand
That what I did was Not A Mistake.
25 years of my life were dedicated to protecting the freedom of others
And now
there is no one to protect me
from an unjust society filled with greed.

It’s like I help plant the seed
That grew into a fruitful tree,
Except everyone but me
could pick from it.
They say money is the root of all evil,

but the roots I know travel underneath the tombstones of friends I’ve seen blown away
And today,
if you follow these same roots back to their origin you’ll find yourself in a
HOUSE that’s all WHITE
Where people like me sleep in clear sight
Right outside those gates.
We are
the few, the proud
And well… you know the rest.
You praise us and show respect
But it’s all just a show because in reality you make us feel like we

Made a Mistake.
You can say how killing is wrong and although I agree.
Please tell me

what you would do when all you can see
Is a red dot pointed at your chest
And the one with their finger on the trigger is yet a man to be.
A child.
A child is yet a man.
A child is yet a man but please understand 

that I too had a child at home who was also yet a man.
My son.
I watched as my sun set behind this child’s head before I made the choice 

that I wanted to one day see mine again.
I received a medal.
A medal for following orders
but in order
to do that I lost a piece of myself.
It’s like the bullet went between his eyes and simultaneously
made me despise
the view I once had of the world we live in.
In this world it’s ok to take a life as long as that life is justified on paper.
You can make a mistake on paper and take it back

but once you sign away your soul in blood it’s there forever.
Paper is man made but a life is God’s gift 

so how can you play the role of the grinch
And take away something that doesn’t belong to you.
It’s true,
I am one of the
few but there is nothing left for me to be proud of after being a Marine for 25 years.
So please, before you walk away from someone like me,
Blame society
for they are the ones who really Made a Mistake.”

                                By Tevin J. Reese

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