In Honour Of The Real Heroes …

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.cemetery

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”.

28 thoughts on “In Honour Of The Real Heroes …

  1. This was a profound post and thank you for printing an excellent poem.
    The tragedy is, there are these boys and girls, men and women one year going about their business, thinking of the years ahead, then the momentum from somewhere starts to gather. The hows and the whys are swept aside and these folk are picked up by the Great War Machine. A Machine which will make its demands, because another Machine has started over the hill, because that Machine wanted to get the first kicks in because….
    There is never an easy answer. No matter how much we yearn for one. Wars have their own fearful and insidious logic. They have a dread rationale all of their own and they draw folk in.
    I could upset a lot of folk if I put fingers to keyboard and typed out a cold analytical explanation as to why the USA used the A-Bomb on Japan. I would not apologise for those words. You see the dread logic has sucked me in, just be reading the histories. Think what it must do to those who were in those wars.
    Yes, those who did not start them, probably did not even know much about them until The Machine came calling, and really they had no choice and began to be part of it, until it had no more use for them because they were broken.
    I will remember them.
    For the generation of WWII, there was indeed no choice. The political classes had allowed the Nazi’s own War Machine to grow.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you, Roger! Very well stated. I wish we could all just learn to ‘live and let live’, destroy all the nukes and tanks and bombs and need no more wars. Each country, every person, be satisfied without feeling a need to steal from or dictate to another, and lets get on with life. Sigh.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I have seen very eloquent and ethically argued points for not honouring 11th November and the War dead.
        There is one point which is never covered, I give you an historical example.
        In 1939 the political system in trying to avoid another WWI failed and The Nazi regime was let loose.
        Was that a time to say ‘No I will not fight,’?
        War is not simple. We have created a very complex child.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorry, Jill, your readership, and most people in the world: I do not honour vets, living or dead. You mentioned the word duty, but what is it? Who is duty most appropriately paid to? Not the country where they happened to be born to, or chose to live it. Not if that country is asking them to give their lives in its defence, or especially its offence.
    I happen to believe it is the nation’s duty to keep its citizens safe, not to send them off to war. NO MATTER THE REASON. It is the citizen’s duty to stand up to the government and say “No, I will not go!” This is especially true of nations with dictators at their head. It is not the dictators who control the army, but the army who controls the dictator. Who is the leader going to conquer if no one will fight for them? Telling them their duty is to fight is wrong. Telling their leaders they refuse to fight is right. And if they stand together, no one dies, offence or defence.
    There is no such thing as a just war. To be part of an attacking army is as much a wrong as attacking your best friend. No one wants to die in a war, or any kind od a fight. And the longer we tell our veterans, or our up-and-coming soldiers, that we honour them for doing their duty, the more we are dishonouring them. There was no reason worthy of them going to war, nor is there any reason to ever go to war again. Greed, vanity, overpopulation, whatever the reason a governing body can think to go to war, it is not as important as keeping its citizens safe. There is no safety in war.
    Racism, religion, visions of superiority, they all pale in comparison to the loss of life. Support war, and you are guilty. Support peace, and you are a hero. I have spoken.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Rawgod. Normally we agree on things but here we disagree. There are times to stand up and fight. You would if a child was abused in front of you. The world needed to in 1940’s. But to what I think you may be implying? For the last 30 or more years the ones going into US military service are the poorest ones who can not survive another way as there is no jobs nor incomes that provide a way out in the US. The situation is that there has become a ridged class situation here and lower incomes pay with the bodies.

      However!
      There are just wars. History has proved that. There are also unjust war actions and sadly my own country is involved in most of them.

      Rawgod just as there are attacking armies there must also be defending armies. I was one of those. Do you insult , attack, my reasons for defending the rights of free people? I am damn proud of my military service to protect people, not to harm those I did not like, but to protect people! Lets be real in this world there are bad people willing to hurt everyone else and there are people willing to defend them. Military people sign up to defend them! Hugs

      Liked by 4 people

      • Your reasons are yours, Scottie. I am saying if the attacking armies refuse to attack, there is no use for defence. I realize I am in a very tiny minority, most people are so used to violence they cannot imagine a world without it. I can imagine a world without violence. Your question about defending a child being abused is moot, it has nothing to do with the macroscope of war. Most armies abuse women and children as if they are rewards for fighting the war. Rape, pillage, plunder! Are you going to tell me those are okay?
        I know you are not. Nor are they okay with me. But that is what war has resulted in since time immemorial. Was WWII a just war because the allies were fighting a dictator? It was the German soldiers fighting that war at Hitler’s request. If they had not done his bidding there would have been no war. Every war starts with people willing to fight, for whatever reason. Look at North and South America. If the white people has come, and shared the land with their red brethren, life today would have been much different. But the whites could not share, they had to dominate. By the time the red man realized they were being attacked by a conquering force, it was too late. I will never be proud of that.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Whether “war” is right or wrong is not the issue here.

      Veteran’s Day is to honor individuals who were either directed — or chose — to defend their county against an enemy.

      It is NOT a day to debate the pros or cons of war. It is NOT a day to honor the politicians or the government who declared the war.

      Liked by 5 people

      • If today is not the day to debate the cons of war–there are no pros–when is? We are indoctrinating our children to think it is okay to fight wars. Wars are ugly, not about bravery but about stupidity. No side really wins a war. The “enemy” is only an enemy because someone told us they were/are. They are people just like us, but they are taught to obey without question. I always question, and I will do it loudest on the day where everyone else celebrates it. There are no heroes in war, only fools.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I know your thoughts on this topic, and while some of what you say is a given, such as that it is the duty of government to keep the people living in the nation safe, some of what you say I don’t necessarily agree with. I do blame the politicians for creating wars, sometimes with justification, other times not, but either way, they seem not to consider that diplomacy and compromise might save a lot of lives. That said, it is not the fault of the soldiers who fought, and I still honour them, for they were giving their all to, in many cases, protect the lives of others. Still, we can agree to disagree on this … hugs, rg.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello Jill. Those that served in war times paved the way for those of us who served in peace times. David is correct in that in the US military service has become the work of the poor. During my time in two different branches of military service I met only people like me, if we wanted to keep eating, have housing, get ahead in life then the military was the only option for us. So the people in power have no problem putting those kids in harms way or bargaining with their lives, it doesn’t effect them. This needs to change if we ever want to stop the forever wars and to stop the military industrial complex. Grand post, thank you. Hugs

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yes, ’tis true. The politicians never get their hands dirty in the wars they create, and the wealthy buy their way out of service, so who does that leave? Sigh. Take, for example, the Oaf in the Oval … daddy paid a doctor to say he had blisters on his feet or some such nonsense, and now he wants a military parade in his honour! If I were a veteran, I would spit on him. Thanks Scottie! Hugs to you! And thank you, my friend, for your own service!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wars would be ended quickest if the first ranks deployed were made up of the politicians who decided someone else’s reserves of oil looked inviting. Who decided that someone’s mineral rich country would be better supplying their country. There are many victims but the authors of them are rarely held to account.
    Cwtch.

    Liked by 4 people

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