It is the soldier, not the reporter,
who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the campus organizer,
who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the soldier, not the lawyer,
who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the soldier,
who salutes the flag,
who serves under the flag,
and whose coffin is draped by the flag,
who allows the protester to burn the flag.
Unselfishly, you left your fathers and your mothers,
You left behind your sisters and your brothers.
Leaving your beloved children and wives,
You put on hold, your dreams—your lives.
On foreign soil, you found yourself planted
To fight for those whose freedom you granted.
Without your sacrifice, their cause would be lost
But you carried onward, no matter the cost.
Many horrors you had endured and seen.
Many faces had haunted your dreams.
You cheered as your enemies littered the ground;
You cried as your brothers fell all around.
When it was over, you all came back home,
Some were left with memories to face all alone;
Some found themselves in the company of friends
As their crosses cast shadows across the land.
Those who survived were forever scarred
Emotionally, physically, permanently marred.
Those who did not now sleep eternally
‘Neath the ground they had given their lives to keep free.
With a hand upon my heart,
I feel The pride and respect; my reverence is revealed
In the tears that now stream down my upturned face
As our flag waves above you, in her glory and grace.
Freedom was the gift that you unselfishly gave
Pain and death was the price that you ultimately paid.
Every day, I give my utmost admiration
To those who had fought to defend our nation.
I don't know what they'll put him at, or what his post may be;
I cannot guess the task that waits for him across the sea,
But I have known him through the years, and when there's work to do,
I know he'll meet his duty well, I'll swear that he'll be true.
I sometimes fear that he may die, but never that he'll shirk;
If death shall want him death must go and take him at his work;
This splendid sacrifice he makes is filled with terrors grim,
And I have many thoughts of fear, but not one fear of him.
The foe may rob my life of joy, the foe may take my all,
And desolate my days shall be if he shall have to fall.
But this I know, whate'er may be the grief that I must face,
Upon his record there will be no blemish of disgrace.
His days have all been splendid days, there lies no broken trust
Along the pathway of his youth to molder in the dust;
Honor and truth have marked his ways, in him I can be glad;
He is as fine and true a son as ever a father had.
Always keep your clothes and your weapons where you can find them in the dark.
Having to do it for the first time in combat is a chastening experience, it gives a man religion.
The ultimate determinant in war is a man on the scene with a gun. This man is the final power in war. He is control, he determines who wins. There are those who would dispute this as an absolute, but it is my belief that while other means may critically influence war today, after whatever devastation and destruction may be inflicted on an enemy, if the strategist is forced to strive for final and ultimate control, he must establish, or must present as an inevitable prospect, a man on the scene with a gun. This is the Soldier.
The nation that will insist on drawing a broad line of demarcation between the fighting man and the thinking man is liable to have its fighting done by fools and its thinking done by cowards.
A soldier is called sometimes to fight, sometimes to die, but always to suffer.
The soldier, above all men, is required to practice the greatest act of religious training [sacrifice]. In battle, in the face of danger and death, he discloses those divine attributes which his Maker gave when He created man in His own image. No physical courage and no brute instinct can take the place of divine help that alone can sustain him. However horrible the instances of war may be, the soldier who is called upon to offer and to give his life for his country, is the noblest development of mankind.