I was not just enshrined in black and white
trained to react to a whistle
and launch myself over the top
I didn’t just stare at No Man’s Land
jumping at every falling leaf
nerves shot to pieces, trembling with fear
I was not just shipped hastily to Europe
attempting to aid our Allies
in facing down the Nazi machine
I was not just despatched to the Mediterranean
sand-whipped and sweating
to fight in a theatre far flung from home
I am not a romantic notion of old boys and idealism
telling war stories of camaraderie
I am not decades past.
I am the young man hobbling down the street
I am the hands held out for a bit of spare change
I am the woman bound to a wheelchair
I am the mental health patient facing down the day
I am sitting next to you on the bus.
I am here.
Remember, I am here.