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Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Soldier Died Today



A Soldier Died Today

He was getting old and paunchy and his hair was falling fast
And he sat around the Legion telling stories of the past,
Of a war that he had fought in and the deeds that he had done
In his exploits with his buddies; they were heroes, everyone.

And 'tho sometimes to his neighbors, his tales became a joke,
All his buddies listened, for they knew whereof he spoke.
But we'll hear his tales no longer, for old Bob has passed away
And the world's a little poorer, for a soldier died today.

No he won't be mourned by many, just his children and his wife,
For he lived an ordinary very quiet sort of life,
He held a job and raised a family, quietly going on his way;
And the world won't note his passing; 'tho a soldier died today.

When politicians leave this earth, their bodies lie in state,
While thousands note their passing and proclaim that they were great,
Papers tell of their life stories from the time that they were young,
But the passing of a soldier goes unnoticed, and unsung.

Is the greatest contribution to the welfare of our land
Some jerk who breaks his promise and cons his fellow man?
Or the ordinary fellow who in times of war and strife
Goes off to serve his Country and offers up his life?

The politician's stipend and the style in which he lives
Are sometimes disproportionate to the services he gives,
While the ordinary soldier, who offered up his all,
Is paid off with a medal, and perhaps a pension small.

It's so easy to forget them, for it was so long ago
That our Bob's and Jim's and Johnny's went to battle, but we know
It was not the politicians, with their compromise and ploys,
Who won for us the freedom that our country now enjoys.

Should you find yourself in danger with your enemies at hand,
Would you really want some cop-out with his ever waffling stand?
Or would you want a soldier who has sworn to defend
His home, his kin, and country, and would fight until the end?

He was just a common soldier and his ranks are growing thin
But his presence should remind us, we may need his like again.
For when countries are in conflict, then we find the soldier's part
Is to clean up all the troubles that the politicians start.

If we cannot do him honor while he's here to hear the praise,
Then at least let's give him homage at the ending of his days.
Perhaps just a simple headline in the paper that might say:
OUR COUNTRY IS IN MOURNING, FOR A SOLDIER DIED TODAY.

God and the Soldier, we adore,
In time of danger, not before.
The danger passed and all things righted,
God is forgotten and the Soldier slighted.


Author Unknown


He went where others feared to go,
and did what others failed to do.
He cried, pained and hoped--
but most of all he lived times--
never to be forgotten.

3 comments:

Ayush said...

1/2 boy 1/2 man

The average age of the army man is 19 years.
He is a short haired, tight-muscled kid who, under normal circumstances is considered by society as half man, half boy. Not yet dry behind the ears, not old enough to buy a beer, but old enough to die for his country. He never really cared much for work and he would rather wax his own car than wash his father's, but he has never collected unemployment dole either.

He's a recent college graduate; he was probably an average student from one of the Kendriya Vidyalayas, pursued some form of sport activities, drives a ten year old jalopy, and has a steady girlfriend that either broke up with him when he left, or swears to be waiting when he returns from half a world away. He listens to rock and roll or hip -hop or country or gazals or swing and a 155mm howitzer.

He is 5 or 7 kilos lighter now than when he was at home because he is working or fighting the insurgents or standing gaurd on the icy Himalayas from before dawn to well after dusk or he is at Mumbai engaging the terrorists. He has trouble spelling, thus letter writing is a pain for him, but he can field strip a rifle in 30 seconds and reassemble it in less time in the dark. He can recite to you the nomenclature of a machine gun or grenade launcher and use either one effectively if he must.

He digs foxholes and latrines and can apply first aid like a professional.
He can march until he is told to stop, or stop until he is told to march.
He obeys orders instantly and without hesitation, but he is not without spirit or individual dignity. His pride and self-respect, he does not lack.

He is self-sufficient.
He has two sets of combat dress: he washes one and wears the other.
He keeps his water bottle full and his feet dry.
He sometimes forgets to brush his teeth, but never to clean his rifle. He can cook his own meals, mend his own clothes, and fix his own hurts.

If you're thirsty, he'll share his water with you; if you are hungry, his food. He'll even split his ammunition with you in the midst of battle when you run low.

He has learned to use his hands like weapons and weapons like they were his hands.
He can save your life - or take it, because that is his job.
He will often do twice the work of a civilian, draw half the pay, and still find ironic humor in it all.
He has seen more suffering and death than he should have in his short lifetime.

He has wept in public and in private, for friends who have fallen in combat and is unashamed.

He feels every note of the Jana Gana Mana vibrate through his body while at rigid attention, while tempering the burning desire to 'square-away' those around him who haven't bothered to stand, remove their hands from their pockets, or even stop talking.

In an odd twist, day in and day out, far from home, he defends their right to be disrespectful.
Just as did his Father, Grandfather, and Great-grandfather, he is paying the price for our freedom.

Beardless or not, he is not a boy.
He is your nation's Fighting Man that has kept this country free and defended your right to Freedom. He has experienced deprivation and adversity, and has seen his buddies falling to bullets and maimed and blown.

But,

He has asked nothing in return, except our acknowledgement of his existence and understanding of his human needs.
Remember him, always, for he has earned our respect and admiration with his blood.
And now we even have women over there in danger, doing their part in this tradition of going to War when our nation calls us to do so.

As you go to bed tonight, remember this shot. . ..
A short lull, a little shade and a picture of loved ones in their helmets.
Read this on another site and copied it for us to pass it on to others we know:DMET

Nishi said...

Beautifully put!

Awaara said...

Beautifully put Nishi and Ayush.
May your tribe grow, may we have many who feel like you and choose to act.

My salutations to you both.