Today, 11 November, is Remembrance Day in the Commonwealth of Nations and Veteran’s Day in the U.S. In all our nations, it is a day to remember and honour those who have died while in military service. While the specifics and the observances may vary somewhat from one country to the next, the meaning is much the same — to honour those who fought and died in wars they did not start. It is also Armistice Day world-wide … a day that marks the end of World War I, the “war to end all wars”. Only, sadly it didn’t … end all wars.
One of the first blogs I connected with way back in the early days of Filosofa’s Word when nobody read what I wrote was a blog about a dog and his human, A DOG’S LIFE? (STORIES OF ME AND HIM). The dog is Ray, who graciously allowed a man named Colin to adopt him, and the blog is mainly about their adventures together. We drifted apart over the years, but recently reconnected through another blog, NUGGETS OF GOLD. Long story short, as I am rambling here … on Saturday, I happened upon Colin & Ray’s blog and found a poem that … well, it sums it all up far better than I could have.
Our friend David said it best this morning …
“I honour the dead on both sides in all conflicts. The all fought because of decisions made by politicians.”
Those who fought did not start the wars, they did not want to kill others, but they did their duty. Let’s honour not only those of our own country, but all who have lost their lives in the service of their country.
Thank you, Colin, for sharing this touching poem.
JUST A COMMON SOLDIER
(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, every one.
And tho’ sometimes, to his neighbors, his tales became a joke,
All his Legion buddies listened, for they knew whereof he spoke.
But we’ll hear his tales no longer for old Bill has passed away,
And the world’s a little poorer, for a soldier died today.
He will not be mourned by many, just his children and his wife,
For he lived an ordinary and quite uneventful life.
Held a job and raised a family, quietly going his own way,
And the world won’t note his passing, though 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 their whole 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
A guy who breaks his promises 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?
A politician’s stipend and the style in which he lives
Are sometimes disproportionate to the service that 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 the old Bills of our Country 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 want a politician with his ever-shifting stand?
Or would you prefer 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 a paper that would say,
Our Country is in mourning, for a soldier died today.
© 1987 A. Lawrence Vaincourt
Take a minute today, no matter where you live, to thank a veteran, or even give one a hug, okay? And, to all the veterans in my life, a personal and heartfelt “Thank You”.