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Agent Orange

they put them up in arms when they were only seventeen
a million teenage troupers of the Pentagon machine
sent them over oceans with a fond farewell
it may have been forever but they couldn’t really tell

some were battle wounded, some were battle slain
some there were untouchable and so they did remain
some were in the jungles when the helicopters sprayed
breathing patriotic poison in the Asian everglades

when they no longer were needed they simply sent them home
saluted with a handshake and left them on their own
and they soon became invisible among the hollow core
nobody wants a hero when they only lose the war

so when the illness came upon them did nobody want to hear
they stuffed them in the shuffle and they turned the other ear
but their voices they were many and they bitterly complained
they said it was the poison that had settled in their veins

so they took a march to Washington and there they had their say
and the governmental inch was given, sent them on their way
with a promise and a program and money for their fee
they don’t mind you dying just do it quietly

now they check in at the clinic each according to his rank
and they take their medications with their country’s many thanks
and if a one of them goes under, wonder who is next
while their country reimburses them with veteran’s checks

from the land of occupation they were sentenced to defend
to return without a welcome when it lingered to an end
so take an early warning should there come a call to war
your enemy may prove to be the one you’re fighting for