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Fifty-Eight Thousand Names


John A. Wilson

Fifty-eight thousand names inscribed on the wall

Stare back at me in silent reproach.

They seem to ask,

"Why did you get to live and we had to die?"

Fifty-eight thousand names is all that is left

Of those brave sons and daughters, husbands and wives,

sweethearts and parents

That bravely took a stand

And paid the ultimate price.

Fifty-eight thousand names, their voices forever stilled

That never again heard children laugh

Or watched a crimson sunset,

Or felt the warm embrace of someone they loved.

Fifty-eight thousand names of those that never returned

To be publicly insulted and spat upon

By those who did not understand,

And to be shunned by a society where they no longer seem to fit.

Fifty-eight thousand names, now peacefully at rest,

Spared the years of nightmares, pain and tears.

My bitter answer is clear,

"Maybe you were the lucky ones."

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