This Is A Place Of Remembrance
Old Soldiers' Shadowed Screams
With day's last light behind
we stand with image darkly illuminated
stretching, reaching to the tempest
wanting to shield your eyes from the lightning
to muffle your ears
against the thunder
shelter you from the rain,the hail!
Knowing you are past our reach
As the elongated reflection of our hands vanish
we look at them ,fold them,use them!
to ask Him to deliver these things to you
to bring you strength
to heal your hearts and ours!
To calm the storm
to carry you soon to a new dawn
of liberty of freedom
to a sweet taste unknown
by those called Iraqis
may they know that taste
and thank you for it!
when the first rays of that new day have broken
follow your shadow and a westward breeze
to the waiting embrace
©Randy Richmond 3/30/03
|CONGRATULATIONS,RANDY MARCH 30,2003
A Picture No Longer Seen
Young, slender and full of life,
Before going to war he took a new wife.
Full of spirit and for his country he fought
Remembering the things his father had taught.
Training, struggling and learning to fight
Sleeping alone for three long years at night.
Stranded for days on end at the Battle of the Bulge
No frills of life to indulge.
Earning three Bronze Stars while in that place
Finally the weather broke by Gods holy grace.
Free to move and re-enter the war
Within two days broke down unable to move as before.
While working on his tank to make a move
The dang thing blew up and he was to be removed.
Spent months on end in a hospital overseas
Then more time in a hospital in the states burnt from the chest to the knees.
Discharged to come home to the family he had left
Only to find his job was not there as if taken in a theft.
Working on the farm hard but honest work
Struggling to make a living even as a store clerk.
Never a word of complaint did I hear
Always a father and always there,
Raised three children and took care of his wife
Lived in pain for the rest of his life.
He worked until the day of his death
Thinking of mom with his last breath.
Now he lays alone in a simple grave
But we all are thankful for the goodness and love he gave.
To me he is the portrait of a soldier true and real
Not one of great honors did he receive, nor did he ever heal.
To God, Family and Country he gave all he had
That you see is also a portrait of my dad.
©David R. Alexander
March 31, 2003
What Is a Soldier?
What makes someone a soldier? Well, just to take a guess, sometimes all it took was a letter from the SSS. Hell, a soldier can come from anywhere in our present society, and male or female, wealthy or working class, makes no difference if you truly have the desire. Look at the recent examples of Patrick Miller, Shoshanna Johnson, Lori Piestewa, and Jessica Lynch, to name a few of the more well-known members of the current rank and file.
Do people really join up for those great sounding, patriotic reasons like love of country and Moms apple pie? Do they really yearn to protect the Constitution and keep this country free? Or maybe way, way down in their secret heart of hearts, theyre just adrenalin junkies. Out for the adventure, looking for a free trip around the world, exploring exotic places like Khe Sahn and Kosovo.
There is a certain amount of joie de vivre to be had in wearing a helmet and NBC 'uni' in 100 plus degree desert heat, or freezing ones unmentionables off in a snowed-in tent on an icy mountaintop in Korea. Added zest comes from having unseen, surly people drop mortars on you or craftily pick off the last friend from your original outfit so that you can hold him in your arms as he bleeds to death waiting for a Medevac.
Of course, there are some who choose to go adventuring on the seas, regularly visiting such interesting places as Japan, Italy, The Philippines, Yankee Station. Its said that the deck of an aircraft carrier is one of the most dangerous places in the world. That could, in itself, be adventure enough for many people. Okay, okay, so you spent most of the trips between ports down in the bowels of the ship in the engine room. So what? Think of the great camaraderie you developed down there with your hard working friends.
Then, one may simply decide to join the military for reasons as prosaic as earning money to get a college education after the enlistment is up. But what makes so many reenlist after that first tour is over, and then the second tour, and so on until they realize that theyve somehow become The Dreaded Lifer?
What is it, really? It cant be the great pay or excellent working conditions. Crawling through rice paddies or triple canopy jungles while attracting leeches and sniper fire cant logically be called a perk. No, its something intangible, like the enduring bonds forged with the folks who crept through that jungle or froze on that mountain with you. However, some people do their twenty without ever hearing a shot fired in anger or having spent any time on the remote, frozen tundra of some tiny, isolated Air Force arctic radar station.
Can it be that there are people who do require and enjoy the discipline and structure inherent in the military life? They need order, a sense of responsibility, the close-knit teamwork, camaraderie, and, yes, love required of an effective unit. A unit that, after all the trappings are put aside, is tasked to place its very existence on the line in the continuing defense of a nation. They are the bulls that will instinctively station themselves on the perimeter of the herd and face outward to deal with any danger that stalks their fellows.
Man, after all is said and done, is a herd animal, though we may call our particular herd a squad, a neighborhood, a tribe, a city, or a nation. Perhaps, in time, the limits of our herd will be defined only by the boundaries of the universe.
But, to be perfectly honest and to stop dancing all around the question, I really dont know what makes a true soldier. Maybe some do it because Dad was a Lifer. Or, maybe like me, they just looked great in a uniform. Plus, as Andy* says, "We get to march in parades---And nobody can beat our funerals."
*Nicholas Andreacchio, Col., USA (Ret.)
© Thurman P. Woodfork 3/31/2003
|Thurman P.Woodfork USAF Vietnam
I got there Willie!
I told you...........
........when you died!
Your black face lookin at me,..........and
........eyes fluttering, and fingers tremblin'.
Told you I would get the high ground.
Now, I got to say to your soul
that no one cared,
I am home in the South
and damn sure old.............Willie!
No one ever gave a damn!
©LJKlaiber 4-1 03
On Soldiers:A Small Town View
A soldier holds his country dear
and always puts it ahead of his fear
...That`s what we were taught here
by alot of good folk who live near
See that couple sittin` on their porch
Their son fell carryin` freedom`s torch
.............He was a hero, killed in Vietnam,
sent home to be buried by Dad and Mom
Old Man Brown, he`s the talk of the town
They say he was a hero long ago in the war,
....before he let the drink drag him down,
says he`s got medals shoved in his drawer
The old man over there, who walks with a cane
....he went to the Army and came home lame
Mary,who waits at the counter in the drug store,
she was a nurse in the war on a foreign shore
Young Bill Macabee, he was in the ROTC
A soldier is what he always wanted to be
Now he`s sent all the way to a land of sand
God willin`,he will make it back to our land
The flag at the courthouse is half mast flyin`
It`s in honor of those who may now be dyin`
We know about soldiers from around here
................. A soldier holds his country dear
............and always puts it ahead of his fear
©Faye Sizemore 4/2/03
Oh, joys of 'The Cisco Kid'
thrilling me ,how it did...
And......' Howdy Doody'
watching was every kid`s duty
I couldn`t wait until we got a TV set
All my dreams were then met...
That child is gone away
My hair is now grey
Now the TV has it`s say
It shows me CNN...
...all the way to Iraq
....and back again
My TV,a surrogate soldier,
has gone to war...
.......I don`t think that
I like it anymore...
©Faye Sizemore 4/3/03
Seeing things men arent suppose to see
We went through a lot of things you and me
Seeking a place of safety and rest
Ive always though you gave your best.
Finding the very worse of men
That was you and I back then.
Watching young men fight and die
Nothing we could to do for them but let them lie.
Remember the day that we went our separate ways
Not knowing that we would have no more days.
Ive felt the pain of your loss
What a fight, what a cost.
Now I stare at your name on this wall
Only the good times do I recall
You were a soldier through and through
When you were killed there was nothing I could do.
I know you are looking down on your family and weep
I only hope you can forgive the promise I couldnt keep.
I hold in my hand a picture of you back then
I now write a verse with an unworthy pen.
I talk to your daughter at least once a week
Sometimes not much is said but your memory we both keep.
Have no doubt she is doing fine
Both of your girls have grown and I think of them as if they were mine.
Now I leave this hallowed place
Leaving only a verse at this black walls base.
I will never forget the friendship we had
Nor the feelings that always leave me sad.
Please take care my old friend
For there are too many places you and I have been.
Now that I have found your girls
I will now try and fulfill the promise I made in that other world.
©David R. Alexander
April 4, 2003
All Rights Reserved
Wounded In The World
(...for those KIA in Iraq)
A Mother has lost a child.
A Father has given his son.
A widow cries.......,
as a soldier dies.
So many are wounded
along the road of life.
In the scars and the tears
...are deep memories.
is just the lost child of today,
wearing a long face of despair,
Our tears leap from the heart.
....and then we disappear.
Love remembers all of them.
Those, who made their home
in the sky of the brave.
In the very heart of love
Time , gently takes us home.
Time remembers the brave.
The wind, it blows...
and, with it and the sand
the tanks move on
It is almost too easy
Where is Saddam
Are you hiding...
Are you alone...
or are you long gone...
with the sand and the wind
The wind is an alterer
of the desert sand...
Does it cover the remains
of a Tyrant `s band
and,pray, not brave Liberator`s
of the desert land...
Instinct says beware,
and it`s seldom wrong...
Beware, what lies hidden, in the sand...
©Faye Sizemore 4/5/03
American Brothers!...American Sisters!
(for Sharon Lane....and all
who died, and all who served
Touching the cool granite
tracing your name on my fingertips
I touched myself
One of you so long ago
so young and strong
like all of you
I touched the bravery
Touched the lips of babes
.... and gone to war
your sons and daughters
I touched the heartache of your wives
........parents and grandparents
and all the others whose tears shine here
War plays no favorites
The quick return
...and the dead live on in memory
I choose to remember
who sacrificed for all
The brave who knew that true freedom
is when free men
and free women
go forth in the name of Liberty
risk their lives
I am honored
to salute you
if i gave you the keys
you would drop them
if i took your hand
and run away
if i died for you
you would walk in a place
that held my name
and forget me
life would whisper
but you would never speak
freedom is a bird
that has flown away.