Ft. Lauderdale, Fl USA
The courthouse room was overflowed that early day in May.
The people came from miles around and traveled night and day
With hatred burning in the breasts, they drove with scarcely any rest
To see the boy who broke the law and now would have to pay.
It wasn't that his act of crime had sounded so displeasin'
For blowing up a power plant appeared to have no reason
And, in another time or place, it would have been a 'curious' case
But, being in a war-time state, 'twas called an act of treason.
The Daily News had spread the rage and called the boy a spy
And all the world was startled at the popular outcry
That stretched from Oregon to Maine. A wounded nation called in pain
That, for his act of sabotage, the guilty boy must die.
The room was tense and quiet as each witness testified
Against the youthful figure with no lawyer by his side.
If he'd shown sorrow he just might have found a friendly face that night
But he showed nothing and whatever chance he held had died.
As the trial neared to a close the judge said, "Stand, my son.
We find it very hard to understand what you have done.
Unless you have an explanation for this cruel act against our nation,
If you would like a chance to speak, then take your final one."
"Hard to understand?", the boy spoke with a voice of hate.
"If you are here to sentence me that you're a little late!
My sentencing has long been done by God and every mother's son,
I've been condemned before, your Honor, by the hand of Fate."
His words invited insults from an audience unkind
Who, left unchecked, would probably have grabbed him from behind
Until the sad truth hit their eyes and they began to realize
As he addressed the jury that their saboteur was blind.
"They call me un-American", he smiled. "A cruel fame
For one who fought in foreign lands to save his country's name.
While serving in the infantry, I traded sight for victory -
How many of the people here would stand and do the same?"
"When I returned from overseas I didn't plan to see
A Broadway Avenue parade in honor just for me
But just a chance to start again within the ranks of normal men
A new beginning in the land that I had helped keep free."
"But every avenue I chose led to a closing door
My handicap was viewed by others like an open sore.
Instead of opportunity, a grateful nation handed me
A welfare check stuck in my hand and food stamps for the store.
"Now quick the land forgets the hand that helped to plant the seed!
Are we to be disgraced because we fought when there was need?
Or did our strength show other men the weaknesses they have within,7
Remind them that they.owe a debt to patriots like me?"
"I felt I should return the honor to my fellow men
"And let them have a first-hand look at what my gift had been.
Late one night I pulled the spark that put the city in the dark
And made them see what I can see - for that I am condemned."
A pin dropped would have echoed in there like a cannon's roar
As pairs of feet were shuffling and eyes stared at the floor
For each man knew he had been named and each felt burdened by the shame
And each man feared the Maker he would have to stand before.
The jury didn't leave the room. "Not Guilty!"was their cry.
The foreman said, "I will not hang a better man than I."
The gallery, threatened with removal, sounded out their strong approval
And, possibly, a teardrop fell from that young soldier's eye.
The judge stood up and smiled at him amid the cries and cheers
He said, "Young man, you have been found not guilty by your peers."
And, after thinking hard and long, his judgement came out loud and strong -
He set the young boy free and gave Society thirty years!