In the shadow of giants

by Emilynn Collins
Columbus, Ohio

I have walked the US cemeteries of Europe.
I have watched my Army father cry over his fallen predecessors.
I have no words now; I had no words then, to describe that emotion.
I have walked in the shadow of Giants.

I have played on the sand of Omaha Beach.
I have heard my men (one still a boy) discuss the strategies of that June, long ago.
I have listened to father and son, grateful for the blessings of that day.
I have played in the shadow of Giants.

I have skipped on the cliffs of Pont-du-Hoc.
I have watched my Ranger relate the heroics of his forebears that day.
I have marveled at their fortitude and sacrifice.
I have skipped in the shadow of Giants.

I have slogged through old, preserved trenches from World War I.
I have walked in the rain at twilight down those muddy hell-holes.
I have lost my way, and had only a tiny flashlight to guide me back.
I have slogged in the shadow of Giants.
I have danced through the fields of Flanders poppies.
I have replied to The Dead, “we took the torch, we held it high.”
I have worn a poppy for many a November 11th to honor my veterans.
I have danced in the shadow of Giants.

I have strolled along the Berlin Wall.
I have found pieces o f the old concrete to remind myself of that “Wall of Shame.”
I have placed my hands on the remains.
I have strolled in the shadow of Giants.

I have listened to my grandfathers tell of their war.
I have one Army and two Navy Grandfathers who served in WWII.
I have heard their stories and tall tales and basked in their wisdom.
I have listened in the shadow of Giants.
I have sat in a Veteran’s commemoration service as servicemen stood around me.
I have watched military men rise behind me, before me, beside me.
I have thanked them for their service with applause and handshakes.
I have sat in the shadow of Giants.

I have prayed for my friends serving in the military.
I have many friends who chose to serve their country.
I have chosen to pray daily for their mental, physical health and safety.
I have prayed in the shadow of Giants.

I have celebrated the return of troops from oversees.
I have greeted the units as they arrive home.
I have tied yellow ribbons and flown flags to welcome them back.
I have celebrated in the shadow of Giants.

I have cried as “Proud to be an American” played.
I have watched my father, standing tall next to me, defending her today.
I have watched a crowd full of soldiers stand tall for that song.
I have cried in the shadow of Giants.
I have worshipped in chapels on multiple military bases.
I have celebrated Easter, Christmas, and my baptism in my father’s chapel.
I have served those chapel congregations through music, VBS, and Sunday School.
I have worshipped in the shadow of Giants.

I have lived my whole life as an Army Brat.
I have no home, save where my family is.
I have said goodbye countless times, have waved to my Daddy, comforted my lonely mother.
I have lived in the shadow of Giants.

- Emilynn Collins is a 27-year-old military brat from Columbus, Ohio

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