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American Flag
Photo by Samuel Branch on Unsplash

Children would smile, adults would shake my hand,
in my uniform, I felt like Superman.
Treated with respect both home and abroad,
things I took for granted, now shining through the fog.

Remembering why I joined, to make my daughter proud,
how the tides have turned, look where I’m at now.
How could this have happened, my arrest record was zero,
causing my family pain, when I was once their hero.

Never would I think, that this would be my fate,
15 years in prison, for my first mistake.
PTSD in EOP, hand feeding me my pills,
went from giving orders, to learning coping skills.

Valor once displayed is nowhere to be found,
knee pushed in my back, face pressed into ground.
What the future holds, this thought now makes me nervous,
incarcerated vets this is the state, saying thank you for your service.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

A.D. Hawkins is a Navy veteran and writer incarcerated in California. Everything he currently writes is to broaden the minds and views of all potential readers.