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An American Boy Poem

Our son was born so long ago, yet it seems like yesterday...
that I stood in awe before his crib and heard that doctor say,
"You've quite a boy there Mr. Jones." I could only answer with a nod,
for in his very being there I saw the miracle of God.

Later in his high chair, in a manner I deplore,
I saw that Miracle of God throw his oatmeal on the floor.
Well, I fixed him something different, for I felt he must be fed,
but when I turned around again, that bowl was on his head!

A few more years rolled along and he didn't spill things anymore.
But his grandad sent a big bass drum, and once more I deplored
The fact that my miracle of God, had a lusty taste for noise!
When he'd boom! boom! boom! on that big bass drum, I questioned, boys must be boys?

I asked his whereabouts one day...his Mom said, "He's got a paper route,"
"said he'd help to earn his way as he became an eagle scout."
When they pinned that medal on him, tears welled in my eyes,
and then I gripped his mother's hand, our boy had earned his prize.

I won't forget that September day, when he entered senior high,
he had an air of great excitement, but he left home with a sigh.
He came back that afternoon, and gave us some puzzled looks,
"Wow!", he said, "this school is tough, look at all these books!"

"The choice is yours," his mother said, "You can pick the easy way."
"What you put into life, you'll get out of it. Each man pays his price one day."
He looked up, and then he smiled, and I saw he'd lost his gloom,
He said, "I'd better look at these," he headed for his room.

My son came home late one day. He seemed all worn out.
I asked a little sharply what this was all about.
He spoke proudly and threw his shoulders back, and in his eyes I caught a gleam.
"I wanted to surprise you Dad, I'm on the football team!"

They won most of their games, lost a few, it was a thrill to watch him play.
And when they didn't win we knew, he'd met the challenge anyway.
He didn't know it at the time, but, it was a stepping stone,
solid footing for the climb, to face life on his own.

How those three years flew past, when graduation came,
we saw our boy grown up at last, our lives will never be the same.
I guess we've known all along what his goal would be,
from that time three years ago, when he chose responsibility.

He stood in the doorway yesterday, put out a strong right hand.
I held back tears at the uniform he wore to protect his land.
I shook his hand, his mother cried, "Son, why couldn't you wait?"
Embracing her, he softly said, "Mom, if we all did, it would be too late."

"I promise I'll go back to school, when I've met my obligation,
to you, my friends, my girl, my school, and most of all this nation."
"I'll do all I can out there, for I know you'll both be trying,
to make everyone you know aware, we've got to keep Old Glory flying."

And then his mother straightened up, with a smile to hide a tear.
She said, "we're both so proud of you, we'll feel lost without you here."
Someday, you'll know what this moment means, when your boy shakes your hand,
And you watch him as he walks away, the day he becomes a man."

Happy Fourth of July

Photos by an American boy, Steven Rapelje
John Wayne Narrates "An American Boy"


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