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A Soldier Died Today

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A Soldier Died Today

Unread postby Piney » May 29th, 2007, 1:52 am

This is not to upset anyone, but the US honored fallen military members May 28. This poem happens to be a favorite of mine.

A Soldier Died Today

By Lawrence Vaincourt, RCAF Veteran, Second World War
(c) 1985 A. Lawrence Vaincourt

He was getting old and paunchy and his hair was falling fast.
He sat around the Legion, telling stories of the past.
Of the war that he had fought and the deeds that he had done,
Of the exploits with his buddies, they are heroes, every one.

Tho' sometimes to his neighbours his tales became a joke,
His Legion buddies listened; they knew whereof he spoke.
But we'll hear his tales no longer; he has passed away.
The world is much poorer now; A SOLDIER DIED TODAY.

He will not be mourned by many, just his children and his wife.
For he lived an ordinary, uneventful, quiet life,
Held a job, raised a family and quietly went his way;
The world won't note his passing, Tho' A SOLDIER DIED TODAY.

When Statesmen leave this earth, their bodies lie in state.
Thousands note their passing and proclaim that they were great.
Papers tell their stories, from the time that they were young.
The passing of a soldier tho', goes unnoticed and unsung.

It's so easy to forget them, it was so long ago,
When our young men left for battle, but this we should know.
It was not the politicians with their promises and ploys
Who won for us the freedom that our country now enjoys.

Should you find yourself in danger, with enemies at hand,
Would you want a diplomat with his every shifting stand?
Or would you prefer a soldier, who has sworn we will defend;
His home, his kin, his country; he'll 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 likes again.
For when countries are in conflict, then we find the soldiers part
Is to clean up all the troubles that the bureaucrats did start.

If we cannot do him honour while he's here to hear our praise;
At least let us pay him homage at the ending of his days.
Perhaps just a simple headline in a paper that would say:
Our country is in mourning "A Soldier Died Today".

Link to L. Vaincourt's website: http://www.vaincourt.homestead.com/
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Unread postby IndigoRed » May 29th, 2007, 3:47 am

Lest we forget.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.


Australian, and honouring the ANZACS, but in battle, these lines are blurred to non-existence.

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Unread postby ChrisRLG » May 29th, 2007, 8:42 am

In the UK we are also remembering the fallen from the Falklands - which was 25 yeras ago now.

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Unread postby BHowett » May 29th, 2007, 9:22 am

Here is one of my favorites, I received it an email long ago so I have no author to quote.

Merry Christmas, My Friend

Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone,
In a one bedroom house made of plaster & stone.

I had come down the chimney, with presents to give
and to see just who in this home did live

As I looked all about, a strange sight I did see,
no tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stocking by the fire, just boots filled with sand.
On the wall hung pictures of a far distant land.

With medals and badges, awards of all kind,
a sobering thought soon came to my mind.
For this house was different, unlike any I'd seen.
This was the home of a U.S. Marine.

I'd heard stories about them, I had to see more,
so I walked down the hall and pushed open the door.
And there he lay sleeping, silent, alone,
Curled up on the floor in his one-bedroom home.

He seemed so gentle, his face so serene,
Not how I pictured a U.S. Marine.
Was this the hero, of whom I’d just read?
Curled up in his poncho, a floor for his bed?

His head was clean-shaven, his weathered face tan.
I soon understood, this was more than a man.
For I realized the families that I saw that night,
owed their lives to these men, who were willing to fight.

Soon around the Nation, the children would play,
And grown-ups would celebrate on a bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom, each month and all year,
because of Marines like this one lying here.

I couldn’t help wonder how many lay alone,
on a cold Christmas Eve, in a land far from home.
Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye.
I dropped to my knees and I started to cry.

He must have awoken, for I heard a rough voice,
"Santa, don't cry, this life is my choice
I fight for freedom, I don't ask for more.
My life is my God, my country, my Corps."

With that he rolled over, drifted off into sleep,
I couldn't control it, I continued to weep.

I watched him for hours, so silent and still.
I noticed he shivered from the cold night's chill.
So I took off my jacket, the one made of red,
and covered this Marine from his toes to his head.
Then I put on his T-shirt of scarlet and gold,
with an eagle, globe and anchor emblazoned so bold.
And although it barely fit me, I began to swell with pride,
and for one shining moment, I was Marine Corps deep inside.

I didn't want to leave him so quiet in the night,
this guardian of honor so willing to fight.
But half asleep he rolled over, and in a voice clean and pure,
said "Carry on, Santa, it's Christmas Day, all secure."
One look at my watch and I knew he was right,
Merry Christmas my friend, Semper Fi and goodnight

I was a Force Recon operator in the Marine Corps. for over six years, and those who I fought and bled with will never be forgotten ….
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Unread postby Elrond » May 29th, 2007, 10:17 am

For me it is no problem remebering the war dead. Too many of my friends have been killed in battle over the years and too many of my friends sons are among those killed in war.
Served in two armies as a draftee but luckely have never been in battle.
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Unread postby IndigoRed » May 29th, 2007, 5:09 pm

I've got one of the last photos of the HMS Sheffield, Chris. We were moored stern to stern in Mombasa. Not long after she was gone. Sad part was she was sunk by a "friendly" missile (Exocet). Alot of countries learned from that episode.
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