For Rick

in memory of Richard DeLeon Jr.,
Captain, United States Army, Retired
1957 – 1998

we were next-door neighbors;
the same age;
firstborn children and best friends
during those tumultuous times
long, long ago.

your father was often
of necessity away;
a patriot and soldier,
(as was also your destiny).
you managed his absences as fittingly
as any child could.

soon enough you learned
the subtle intricacies of war,
following his boot-steps
far to the fields of battle;
far from your own children’s arms.

so proud your family was
of your achievements
for they knew, better than most, the many
hardships a soldier must face.

oh, those who loved you dearly Rick
and those who knew you well
count it still a blessing and an honor
to have shared with you such precious hours;
to have once and forever been your friend.

 – Jerry Dan Deutschendorf