The American Vet

21 Nov

Two of our readers have sent poems about american Vets during this holiday season.

sent by Karen Shaffer
T’WAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS,
HE LIVED ALL ALONE,
IN A ONE BEDROOM HOUSE,
MADE OF PLASTER AND STONE.

I HAD COME DOWN THE CHIMNEY,
WITH PRESENTS TO GIVE,
AND TO SEE JUST WHO,
IN THIS HOME, DID LIVE.

I LOOKED ALL ABOUT,
A STRANGE SIGHT I DID SEE,
NO TINSEL, NO PRESENTS,
NOT EVEN A TREE.

NO STOCKING BY MANTLE,
JUST BOOTS FILLED WITH SAND,
ON THE WALL HUNG PICTURES,
OF FAR DISTANT LANDS.

WITH MEDALS AND BADGES,
AWARDS OF ALL KINDS,
A SOBER THOUGHT,
CAME THROUGH MY MIND.

FOR THIS HOUSE WAS DIFFERENT,
IT WAS DARK AND DREARY,
I FOUND THE HOME OF A SOLDIER,
ONCE I COULD SEE CLEARLY.

THE SOLDIER LAY SLEEPING,
SILENT, ALONE,
CURLED UP ON THE FLOOR,
IN THIS ONE BEDROOM HOME.

THE FACE WAS SO GENTLE,
THE ROOM IN DISORDER,
NOT HOW I PICTURED,
A TRUE US SOLDIER.

WAS THIS THE HERO,
OF WHOM I’D JUST READ?
CURLED UP ON A PONCHO,
THE FLOOR FOR A BED?

I REALIZED THE FAMILIES,
THAT I SAW THIS NIGHT,
OWED THEIR LIVES TO THESE SOLDIERS,
WHO WERE WILLING TO FIGHT.

SOON ROUND THE WORLD,
THE CHILDREN WOULD PLAY,
AND GROWNUPS WOULD CELEBRATE,
A BRIGHT CHRISTMAS DAY.

THEY ALL ENJOYED FREEDOM,
EACH MONTH OF THE YEAR,
BECAUSE OF THE SOLDIERS,
LIKE THE ONE LYING HERE.

I COULDN’T HELP WONDER,
HOW MANY LAY ALONE,
ON A COLD CHRISTMAS EVE,
IN A LAND FAR FROM HOME.

THE VERY THOUGHT BROUGHT,
A TEAR TO MY EYE,
I DROPPED TO MY KNEES,
AND STARTED TO CRY.

THE SOLDIER AWAKENED,
AND 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..”

THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER,
AND DRIFTED TO SLEEP,
I COULDN’T CONTROL IT,
I CONTINUED TO WEEP.

I KEPT WATCH FOR HOURS,
SO SILENT AND STILL,
AND WE BOTH SHIVERED,
FROM THE COLD NIGHT’S CHILL.

I DID NOT WANT TO LEAVE,
ON THAT COLD, DARK, NIGHT,
THIS GUARDIAN OF HONOR,
SO WILLING TO FIGHT.

THEN THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER,
WITH A VOICE SOFT AND PURE,WHISPERED, “CARRY ON SANTA,
IT’S CHRISTMAS DAY, ALL IS SECURE.”

ONE LOOK AT MY WATCH,
AND I KNEW HE WAS RIGHT.
“MERRY CHRISTMAS MY FRIEND,
AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT.”

sent by Roger Growden:
He was getting old and paunchy,
and his hair was falling fast,

He sat around the “Legion”,
telling stories of the past.


Of a war that he once fought in,
and the deeds that he had done,

Of his exploits with his buddies;
they were heroes, every one.


‘tho sometimes to his neighbors his tales became a joke,

All his buddies listened quietly,
for they knew what of he spoke.


But we’ll hear his tales no longer,
for ol’ Joe has passed away,

And the world’s a little poorer,
for a Veteran died today.


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,
going quietly on his way;

And the world won’t note his passing,
‘tho a Veteran died today.


When politicians leave this earth,
their bodies lie in state,

While many 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 Veteran goes unnoticed, and unsung.


Is the greatest contribution to the welfare of our land,
of someone who breaks his promise and deceives 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 often disproportionate,
to the service that he gives.


While the ordinary Veteran,
who offered up his all,

Is paid off with a medal,
and perhaps a pension, small.


It is 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 Veteran,
his home, his country, his kin?

Just a common Veteran,
who would fight until the end.

He was just a common Veteran,
and his ranks are growing thin,

But his presence should remind us we may need his likes again.
 For when countries are in conflict,
we find the Veteran’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, A VETERAN DIED TODAY.”

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