Essays, Short stories, and Poetry
By Military Personnel

 

A Collection of Poems by

Del "Abe" Jones

 

Three and Counting

The National Alliance of Families

That Special Kind

Armed Forces Day

For Moms

In Passing

My Rock

Memorial Day 2004

Memorial Day

Michelle Witmer

And, They Were There, Too

Military Spouse’s Day

Riding By His Side

Dale Earnhart

I Bet He Is!

Casting His Own Shadow

Without Ceremony

The Death of Innocence

The WWII Memorial

Where Does The Buck Stop??

Semper Fidelis

Freedom's Memorial

 

 DEAR JOHN

THE OLD SERGEANT SERIES

By Steve Newton (32)

Honoring the Fallen, Quietly

Jonathan Evans

Untitled
BM1 Victor K. Vincent
Submitted by:
mselneus2@yahoo.com

Sleeping Soldiers
JSR aka "Old Sarge"

Poem of the Month, January 2003
Cut The Skies
SFC Keith L. Hardin
Sarajevo, Bosnia

I Was A Soldier
Colonel Daniel K. Cedusky, USAR, Retired

I am Your Flag

Sent in by Colonel Daniel K. Cedusky, USAR, Retired

A Warrior at the Gate!

Robert E. Gossard, ETCS  USN Retired

The American Patriot

Robert E. Gossard, ETCS  USN Retired

 

 

 

A Collection of Poems by

Del "Abe" Jones

USAF Ret.
'58-'61, K9 Corps.

 

Thank you Abe, for sharing your wonderful poetry with us all.

Below is a link to Abe's web site where you can read more of his poetry.

http://mywebpage.netscape.com/delabejones/page1.html

 

Two of Abe's poems are etched in stone at the Ellis County Veterans Memorial
in Waxahachie, Texas.
Click below to see pictures.

http://www.rootsweb.com/~txellis/photos/veterans.htm

 

 

THREE AND COUNTING

 

Another anniversary

Of our "day of infamy"

Of battles against terror

And it’s war’s casualty.

 

Osama still on the roam

And the borders, we control (?)

Filling up with terrorists

Who come to thwart our goal.

 

Maybe, "we can win" the war

Or, "maybe we can’t"

Depends on who you talk to

Who’ll give you a different slant.

 

But, ask the friends and families

Of those who have already "lost"

And those who march in "harm’s way"

Who, really pays the "cost"?

 

The bureaucrats and diplomats

Political/military brass

Tell us it’s all necessary

And that, this too, will pass.

 

But, ask those who build the bombs

And blow themselves, to "Kingdom Come"

Who think killing innocent people

Will take them to "Martyrdom".

 

They have no respect for life

Or the consequence of actions

Using any means to an "end"

Of all non-Muslim factions.

 

Our Nation is sadly learning

What others already knew

That the terrorists will never quit

No matter what we do.

 

We’ve also learned a lesson

That we should have known

We must work with other Countries

Because, we’ll never win, alone.

 

Del "Abe" Jones

09-07-2004


The National Alliance of Families

http://www.nationalalliance.org/home1.htm 

 

Ten years of "BITS N PIECES"

By some People who still care

In a search for clues and answers

About Those We left "over there".

 

Trying to get the military

And all those politicians

To take actions to find Them

With calls, letters and petitions.

 

It’s a sad State of Affairs

When the families and friends

Must lead the Battle in the Search

In this War that never ends.

 

All those loved ones still Missing

Who went to War for me and you

Deserve much more from our Country

Than just the efforts of those few.

 

"The National Alliance of Families"

Carries that Banner for us all

To bring home those Forgotten

Who answered our Nation’s Call.

 

Please visit their pages

And give them a helping hand

For if "One Missing" was "One" close to you

Maybe then, you’d understand.

 

Del "Abe" Jones

09-05-2004


Where Does The Buck Stop??

 

It’s too bad They can’t be Honest

The type of folks who really care

But it seems every election time

We get the same, liars Vanity Fair.

 

They worry ‘bout their own Agendas

And not the Solemn Oath they Swore

While special interests curry favor

With corporate dollars and much more.

 

They don’t care about "The People"

Outside the "good ol’ boy", Beltway

They don’t care what the Cost is

Because, they’re not the ones who pay.

 

While they help the rich get richer

And the Working Man pays the bills

As long as the bucks keep rolling in

They don’t "sweat" our Country’s ills.

 

If found, "hand in the cookie jar"

Or when they get caught lying

Or even make honest mistakes

Their cover-ups are "trying".

 

Whether Republican or Democrat

Seems anymore they’re all the same

"Pass the buck, don’t stop it here"

Is still the name of the game.

 

We must make them accountable

The Leaders of this Land

For things will never change

Until the People make a stand.

 

They don’t put their young in Uniform

Or expect them to pay their "dues"

They don’t shed tears for lost, loved ones

When they hear the Evening News.

 

"War" is just a word to them

Not like in those days gone past

When, we all took up the Battle

When Wartime’s stone was caste.

 

The Proud Honor of our Warriors

Seems to be strong and fine

Except for those many "Elite"

Who say, "No, you can’t take mine!"

 

Sadly, there are those bad apples

Who’ll make all Soldiers look bad

Like those pics coming from Iraq

And those scapegoats to be "had".

 

Where were all the Officers

From the Chain of Command

In front of the enlisted Troops

Where they are supposed to stand.

 

When our Nation is in Danger

And we offer our young ones

To stand there at the Frontlines

It should be, Everyone’s.

 

Every able bodied youngster

Has the Duty to Serve

To do their part to earn the Life

We all think that "we deserve".

 

We All rallied behind our Troops

During the last (?) World War

The "privileged" joined with the masses

Though, they knew what was in store.

 

Moms were air-raid wardens

Or worked at defense production

Even kids collected scrap metal

And "rations" were at great reduction.

 

These days, we watch it on the "tube"

Desensitized against battles we mount

Unless it’s one, of Our Loved Ones

Who is part of the body count.

 

Not only in World "Theaters"

Where we strive, to Right, wrong

But, here at Home, everyday

Where We, All can’t get along.

 

We must put our own "House" in Order

Before we can cure the World’s woes

And we could be defeated from, "within"

Because of indifference to Truth's foes.

 

We just can’t blindly follow

Believing the "powers that be"

Just because they say, They Lead

This, Land of the Free.

 

Then there is "Homeland Security"

That we do need for detection

Of threats against our people

As long as our Rights have protection.

 

A small percentage of our People

Serve, sacrifice, and some give all

But, we must step up, do our part

‘Lest we see our "Colors" fall.

 

Del "Abe" Jones

05-01-2004

 


THE WWII MEMORIAL

 

It’s been a long time coming

And it is way overdue

This Memorial to Honor Heroes

Who died during World War II.

 

On the Mall in Washington

There’s a curving Wall of Stars

Marking four hundred thousand Dead

Plus those Survivors healing scars.

 

Sixteen million Served

In all the Military ways

With only four million left

And most, with numbered days.

 

Most Americans today

Don’t know how close we came

To the tides turning against us

But for, those Battles in our name.

 

A Tribute we owe all Those

Who paid the Ultimate Price

And it’s better late than never

To Honor their Supreme Sacrifice.

 

So many of those Veterans say

That was the last, "Military War"

The clear danger to our Nation

Was what, They were fighting for.

 

Now, They will never be forgotten

Immortalized within that Stone

Gathered together in one place

So, They will never be alone.

 

Del "Abe"Jones

05-29-2004

 


THE DEATH OF INNOCENCE

 

Fourteen more young wasted lives

And one teacher who gave all

And once more the questions

Why, no one heard the call.

 

Why, two young minds and hearts

Were filled with so much hate

Why, they took it on themselves

To seal, all those others fate.

 

There is no answer, that makes sense

No way to sort it out

And we should all, ask just what

We, really are about.

 

Why, the future is no more

For all of those young souls

Why, no more hopes and dreams

No chance to reach their goals.

 

Why, with all our expertise

And, our technology

Why, we can’t stop the madness

In our "great" (?) society.

 

There is no answer, that makes sense

No way to sort it out

And we should all, ask just what

We, really are about.

 

Why, our children can get guns

Make bombs to kill and maim

Why, parents think, "No, not mine!

(Don’t play, that deadly game.)

 

Why, we say every time

"It shouldn’t happen here!"

Why, we don’t take it serious

And shudder with fear.

 

There is no answer, that makes sense

No way to sort it out

And we should all, ask just what

We, really are about.

 

4-21-99

Del "Abe" Jones


Semper Fidelis

 

On the tenth day of November

In Seventeen seventy-five

Two Battalions were formed

And the Marine Corps came alive.

 

The Continental Congress

Had passed a resolution

For a landing force for the fleet

A new Navy Institution.

 

Since that day so long ago

Through all conflicts of our Nation

They’ve fueled stories and folklore

And stirred the imagination.

 

They’re usually the first to go

The "spearhead" of the fight

Some who heard they were coming

Have turned tail and took flight.

 

They’ve offered up, gave their All

And that continues to this day

Standing tall, marching forth

To show others, Freedom’s way.

 

Del "Abe" Jones

05-26-2004

 


WITHOUT CEREMONY

 

We send them out to risk their lives

And then, when they give their all

We hear their names on the news

Without Ceremony, and that's all.

 

Each should have an Honor Guard

That's shown, for the World to see

That we pay homage to all those

Who died for all our Liberty.

 

Each, should have their own caisson

Rolling slowly, down each street

To make us, always remember

Who our enemies, did meet.

 

But, nowadays it seems

That all the Powers that be

Want them to return unnoticed

And, Without Ceremony.

 

"It's too hard for the Loved Ones."

If, we Honor, their Remains

They say, "Out of sight and mind."

Will help ease all the pains.

 

But our Government, (and us)

Who let them come home unseen

And, Without Ceremony

Are doing something that's obscene.

 

We have Celebrations

When the rest of them return

But, it's the Dead and Wounded

Who could teach us, if, we'd learn.

 

Del "Abe" Jones

02-22-2004


CASTING HIS OWN SHADOW

 

Well, Dale Junior did it

And, in an awesome way

After his Dad won the first time

Eleven years, to the day.

 

I think there were two drivers

In that car Saturday night

Junior was at the wheel

And Dale calling shots, just right.

 

A guiding hand upon his shoulder

And a voice there in his mind

Saying, "You can do it, Junior!

Because, we are a special kind."

 

Sometimes in the shadow

And now, he casts his own

And I’m sure Dale’s proud

Of the man, he’s grown.

 

What a fitting tribute

From Junior for his Dad

All the glory of the win

But, some ways, still sad.

 

They say, time will heal all

But, there’ll always be that space

Left by that Number 3 car

In every NASCAR race.

 

But, that was an indication

That we might see it all, again

As Junior carries the tradition

And then, all of us will win.

 

Del "Abe" Jones

7-8-01

 


I BET HE IS!

 I bet Dale’s lookin’ down sayin’

"Now, wasn’t that some race

We took first and second

And almost, a third place".

 

I bet he’s saying, "Sterling,

You sure took me for a run,

And I can’t remember when

I’ve had so much fun."

 

We swapped a little paint

And shared each others rubber

You gave me the race I like

And I love you, Brother".

 

Del "Abe" Jones

2-20-01

 

 

DALE EARNHART

 

For more than twenty years

He ran those ol’ stock cars

Now, he’s racing in the Heavens

In and out amongst the stars.

 

Less than half a century

He spent here in this place

But, made his mark in history

And there’ll always be a trace

 

He left this world doing the thing

Closest to his heart

Now he’ll race forever

With a brand new "green flag start"

 

He’ll be missed by many

Fans, friends, and family

But if we look to the sky

I know that we will see

 

His number "3" flash by

Bumping, a star or two

To let all know, he’s there

Like he always, loved to do.

 

Del "Abe" Jones

February 19, 2001


RIDING BY HIS SIDE

 

I bet Daddy was a’ grinning

When, the checkered fell

And hollered out, "That’s my Boy!"

(As if, we couldn’t tell.)

 

Little E said, "He was with me.*

Said, Dale was riding by his side

And I bet he shed, a tear too

As, his heart swelled with pride.

 

It’s three years since we lost him

But, Dale never went away

‘Cause he's riding ‘round with Junior

On each and every, racing day.

 

Del "Abe" Jones

2-15-2004


FOR MOMS

 

She was there at the beginning

When the world was new to you -

She was there to turn to happy times

Those when, you were hurt or blue.

 

She was there to listen to your thoughts

And when you asked, to give advice -

She was there to tell you, "Those don't match!"

Or, "Hon, you sure look nice."

 

She was there with you at nighttime

To help you say your prayers _

She was there to tell you, "It's alright."

When you had a dream that scares.

 

She was there at morning time

To get you up and out of bed -

She was there when you didn't feel good (or did)

To say, "You'd best stay home, instead."

 

She was there when you were hungry

And when you had those dirty clothes -

She was there when you needed her

(How she knew? Only heaven knows.)

 

She was there at the beginning

And she'll be there your whole life through -

She'll be there in your mind and heart

Just like a Mother’s supposed to do.

 

Del "Abe" Jones


ARMED FORCES DAY

(May 15, 2004)

 

At the urging of Harry Truman

The third Saturday in May

The new Department of Defense

Proclaimed it, "Armed Forces Day".

 

A day to Thank all the Services

Who defend our air, land, and sea

Who serve our Country Proudly

Defending, this Land of the Free.

 

All those young Men and Women

And too, all of those "oldsters"

Who march, fly, and set sail

As Airmen, Sailors, Marines and Soldiers.

 

Some of them serve as "Regulars"

And some just do, the weekend

But all step forward, Strong and Proud

When we need someone to send.

 

The times have been a'changing

And missions they're asked to do

Grow much more complicated

Than what, they used to do.

 

They must be Warrior and Diplomat

With clenched fist or gentle touch

Pass the ammunition, feed the hungry

Build roads, hospitals, and such.

 

"A Tradition of Heroes"

Is what some people say

But, we all owe them, "Thank you!"

On this, "Armed Forces Day"

 

Del "Abe" Jones

 05-12-2004 


THAT SPECIAL KIND

 

 Since the Birth of our Nation

We have sent our Young to War

To do Battle for our Freedoms

For Truth, and Right, and More.

 

We take them from their Families

And send them all around the World

To show all the other Peoples

How, Freedom’s flag’s unfurled.

 

They’re sent with a wealth of knowledge

That they carry and spread well

Our Ambassadors to others

With a story only, they can tell.

 

So, as we bask in our lifestyles

And gather ‘round the Christmas Tree

Let’s say a Prayer and Give Thanks

To those who make us Free.

 

Lets bring them all Home for a moment

And hold them in our Heart and Mind

For each and every one’s a Hero

And each, one of a very Special kind.

 

Del "Abe" Jones
White Bluff, TN
12-11-2003


Memorial Day

 

A time for picnics, time off work

Vacations and the "Indy"

A holiday, too often times

We forget what it should be.

 

A time to pay respect to those

Who rallied to the battle cry

Who gave their lives for liberty

Those freedoms for you and I.

 

Such a waste of brave young souls

Some still struggling through their youth

Who faced and fell willingly

Before wartimes' awful truth.

 

So as we share this holiday

With our friends or family

Take a moment to give thanks to

Those who died so we'd stay free.

 

Let us strive for world peace

For the end of greed and hate

For next time, after "the war"

It just may be too damned late.

 

Freedom's Memorial

 

This day is set aside

to honor those

who took the chance to die.

 

But they have died in vain

if we ever forget

the reason why.

 

Freedom can be like time

slipping away

before we even know.

 

But we all have the choice

more, a duty

to battle freedoms' foe.

 

Let us give thanks this day

to all those brave

who paid the highest cost.

 

Not take it for granted

and realize

it easily could be lost.

 

Del "Abe" Jones


Memorial Day 2004

 

We've Troops around the World

Who put, their Life on the line

And sometimes give their All

For, Freedoms of yours and mine.

 

But now, it seems much different

We ask them, in another’s name

To Protect their Freedoms, too

And Sacrifice, like it’s the same.

 

But, you can’t give Freedom away

It’s something, you must embrace

And it may not always work

In, each and every time and place.

 

We can’t change centuries of life

And ask our Troops to lead the way

To place their lives in jeopardy

Just because, the Politicians say.

 

But now, that we are in this mess

It must be seen through to the end

And a Prayer said, for those who die

Amongst those brave souls, we send.

 

It’s so sad at this year’s Tribute

We must add, all those Names we do

With the Hope, that by next year

All these Wars will be through.

 

2-2-2004

Del "Abe" Jones


MY ROCK

 

Sometimes I catch myself

Thinking, "When I phone,

I can talk of this or that!"

Then remember, I'm alone.

 

She was always there

To answer my calls -

To listen to my "small talk"

Or when I climbed the walls.

 

Sometimes, I didn't feel like talking

And somehow, she understood -

Didn't say she wished I'd call

Or make me feel like I should.

 

Now, I wish I would have

More times, to show I cared -

To say, just how important

Were, all those times we shared.

 

I could have shown my love

So much more than I did -

I never, did it enough

Even when I was a kid.

 

Now it's too late to do or say

All those things I wish I had -

No way to ease the pain inside

When my heart is sad.

 

She was my "anchor" to this life -

The "rock", that I clung to -

The place, where I could turn

When, nowhere else would do.

 

Now, the ravages of time

Have worn my "rock" away -

And all I have to cling to

Are memories of yesterday.

 

Del "Abe" Jones


IN PASSING

 

Sometimes Mom in passing

Would pat you on the back

And sometimes in passing

She'd show you the right track.

 

Sometimes Mom in passing

Would say, "You sure look nice!"

And sometimes in passing

She could, make you, think twice.

 

Sometimes Mom in passing

Would lightly touch your hair

And sometimes in passing

She'd show you what was fair.

 

Sometimes Mom in passing

Would ask, "What do you mean?"

And sometimes in passing

She would get in between.

 

Sometimes Mom in passing

Would give you, "that look"

And sometimes in passing

Would give you what it took.

 

But this time, Mom is passing

From this world to the best

And this time in passing

She'll pass the final test.

 

And when Mom has passed

And the pain is so unkind

Just look and you'll find her

There in your heart and mind.

 

Del "Abe" Jones 


Michelle Witmer

 

Only twenty years ago

She came onto this earth

Joined by Sis, Charity

At the time of Her birth.

 

Another older Sister

Two Brothers, Mom and Dad

Left behind to mourn the loss

With much Pride, within the sad.

 

Three women, "in country"

Doing their Duty with the Guard

But Mom and Dad, never guessed

That, it could be so hard.

 

Trying to help another People

In a foreign, far-off land

Fighting for, and against them

Is not exactly, what they’d planned.

 

Now, they want their "Babies" Home

Or at least, in some safe place

For fear of another loss

That, can never be replaced.

 

They have made their sacrifice

In the highest order of the day

Michelle, a Soldier who Gave All

Is the price, they had to pay.

 

Del "Abe" Jones

White Bluff, TN

4-13-2004


AND, THEY WERE THERE, TOO

(Etched in Texas Monument)

 

Not enough credit given, to mothers, sisters, daughters, wives,

Some too, who gave their all, the best years of their lives.

There's some, wore a uniform, of one of the military "branches"

And like all of those men, taken some deadly chances.

Some were in the U.S.O., brought a little taste of home,

With small talk, donuts, coffee, where'er the troops would roam.

There was "Rosie the Riveter," who fought her own war here.

And the nurses that eased the pain, and tried to ease the fear.

There were women pilots, who put their lives on the line,

Said, "Send me where you will. That suits me, just fine!"

Those who stayed at home, to raise their families,

Who gave all, went without, realizing harsh realities.

So many of those women, who gave so much more

Than they were asked to, during each and every war.

We honor those, upon this stone, and give our humble "Thanks"

To those who served with honor, in our country's wartime ranks.

 

Del "Abe" Jones

 

Click here to see a photo.


MILITARY SPOUSE’S DAY

(May 7)

 

It’s a day set aside in May

To Honor those often left at home

Who stand beside their loved ones

Who are often on the roam.

 

They raise the family, pay the bills

And do it all without complaint

Many times they aren’t too happy

But hold their feelings in restraint.

 

They’re the backbone of the Services

And hold the line on the Homefront

They put their own lives on hold

With their Spouses’ on the forefront.

 

Men and Women hold the "Fort" down

For their significant others

Who are off preserving Freedom

With their "Sisters" and "Brothers".

 

There’s not enough Credit given

To those Spouses left behind

For they truly are a rare breed

Of a very Special kind.

 

Del "Abe" Jones

05-06-2004

 


 

Freedom's Memorial

 

This day is set aside

to honor those

who took the chance to die.

 

But they have died in vain

if we ever forget

the reason why.

 

Freedom can be like time

slipping away

before we even know.

 

But we all have the choice

more, a duty

to battle freedoms' foe.

 

Let us give thanks this day

to all those brave

who paid the highest cost.

 

Not take it for granted

and realize

it easily could be lost.

 

Del "Abe" Jones

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DEAR JOHN

THE OLD SERGEANT SERIES

By Steve Newton (32)

 

Mail call was always a great day for the platoon. Even though the mail came intermittently it was usually a day of sharing home made cookies and other treats. They passed around new CD’s and music was playing everywhere. “Kids,” the old sergeant thought. What ever happened to Old Blue Eyes and Dean Martin? But even though he never received any mail himself he enjoyed watching his men.

 

He noticed that one of the men was sitting over in a corner all by himself and he did not look happy. Uh oh, the old sergeant thought. A face like that usually meant trouble at home and trouble at home could lead to body bags here. He ambled over to the kid and sat down beside him. “How are things at home soldier?” The kid bent his head down so the sergeant couldn’t see his eyes and just handed the letter over for him to read.

 

As the sergeant read through the letter he found very quickly that it was a “Dear John.” The kid’s girlfriend had found someone that was not serving their country but who at least was home. The bad part about it was she didn’t put it very gently. She racked the poor kid over the coals pretty good.

 

“Aw, sh--,” the sergeant, thought. This is trouble. “Soldier, you know there isn’t much a man can say at a time like this. The only thing I can tell you is that you’ll get over it. I know I did.” “You did sergeant,” the soldier said? “You mean you got a dear john yourself?”

 

“Yep, I did. And I got over it but it took some time. In fact I still carry the letter with me to remind me how lucky I was not to get involved with a girl that wouldn’t even wait for me.” The old sergeant reached inside his shirt and brought out an old well-read letter and handed it over to the kid. The soldier looked in amazement at the letter and then back at the sarge. “Go ahead kid. It’s ancient history.”

 

The soldier opened the letter and started to read. It was three pages long and was the most heart-wrenching thing he had ever read. Tears were streaming down the kid's face as he handed back the letter. “Sarge, I didn’t know. I’m so sorry. Your letter makes mine look pretty tame.”

 

“Yeah, well. Things happen. Now get back with your squad and don’t let them see your eyes are red.” “Yes sergeant,” the kid said as he hurried off. The old sergeant got up and put the letter back into his shirt pocket. He’d had a bar tender write it for him ten years ago and he always kept it. He never knew when he was going to need it again.

 

 

Steve Newton

NEWTON’S BEST OF THE BEST MILITARY WEB SITE

http://steven.newton1.home.att.net/

Home of the “Old Sergeant” series

This is a fictional work designed to express an idea or prove a point.

 


 

 

Honoring the Fallen, Quietly

By Jonathan Evans

 

There are no reporters on the tarmac at Dover Air Force Base.

 

The public is not allowed to witness the military tradition of "receiving the remains."

 

Instead, there are soldiers, roused at dark hours to stand in the confines of what seems like a secret as the dead are brought home.

 

I am one of the soldiers.

 

Nearly every day we learn of another death in Iraq. In our collective consciousness, we tally the statistics of dead and wounded. The number is over 500 now. But none of our conjuring are as real and tangible as the Stars and Stripes folded perfectly over a coffin cradling one of those statistics on his or her way home. It does not matter where somebody stands politically on the war, but I believe that all who have an opinion should know the cost of that opinion. When a soldier dies in a foreign land, his or her remains are returned to the United States for their final rest.

 

The remains arrive in Dover, Del., without fanfare.

 

No family member is present.

 

There are no young children to feel sad or confused.

 

Just a small group of soldiers waiting to do their duty and honor the fallen.

 

"Dover flights" are met by soldiers from the U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Regiment, the storied Old Guard. They are true soldiers, assigned to an esteemed regiment, but it is a unit defined by polish, not mud. It seems that they quietly long to be tested with their comrades "over there." But it is clear to me as I watch them that they find immense pride in honoring their country this way.

 

Silence.

 

I am a helicopter pilot in the U.S. Army, and it is my job to have the honor guard at Dover at whatever hour a flight arrives. In military-speak, the plane's grim contents are referred to as "HRs"--"human remains." Once the plane arrives, conversation ends.

 

The soldiers form a squad of two even ranks and march out to the tarmac.

 

A general follows, flanked by a chaplain and the ranking representative from the service in which the fallen soldier served.

 

The plane's cargo door opens slowly revealing a cavernous space.

 

The honor guard steps onto a mobile platform that is raised to the cargo bay.

 

The soldiers enter in lock-step formation and place themselves on both sides of the casket.

 

The squad lifts, the soldiers buckling slightly under the weight.

 

The remains have been packed on ice into metal containers that can easily exceed 500 pounds. The squad moves slowly back onto the elevated platform and deposits the casket with a care that evokes an image of fraternal empathy. It is the only emotion they betray, but their gentleness is unmistakable and compelling. The process continues until the last casket is removed from the plane.

 

On bad nights, this can take over an hour.

 

The few of us observing say nothing, the silence absolute, underscored by something sacred.

 

There is no rule or order that dictates it, but the silence is maintained with a discipline that needs no command.

 

The caskets are lowered together to the earth, where the soldiers lift them into a van, one by one.

 

The doors close, and the squad moves out.

 

Just before the van rounds the corner, someone speaks in a voice just above a whisper.

 

We snap to and extend a sharp salute.

 

There are those who would politicize this scene, making it the device of an argument over the freedom of the press. But if this scene were ever to be exploited by the lights and cameras of our "infotainment" industry, it would be offensive.

 

Still, the story must be told.

 

A democracy's lifeblood, after all, is an informed citizenry, and this image is nowhere in the public mind.

 

The men and women arriving in flag-draped caskets do not deserve the disrespect of arriving in the dark confines of secrecy.

 

But it is a soldier's story, and it must be told through a soldier's eyes.

 

In the military, we seldom discuss whether we are for or against the war.

 

Instead, we know intimately its cost.

 

For those of us standing on the tarmac at Dover in those still and inky nights, our feelings have nothing to do with politics.

 

They are feelings of sadness, of empathy.

 

And there is nothing abstract about them.

 

Submitted by: Kurt McAtee (Requested no email link)

 


Untitled

 

No matter what you do. No matter what you say.

It seems that in the end you make me feel this way.

I have a heart full of butterflies dancing in my chest

This tells me of all the people I’ve ever met you truly are the best

 

Last night while I was working, I saw a smile upon the moon.

As if it were a sign from God, we'd be together soon.

I crave you every minute. I crave your energy.

This tells me that you are the one meant for me.

 

Although some times have been tough, the good times have been the best.

Because of this I am still with you and waiting for the rest.

God has ways of testing love and hopes that we don’t fail.

I think he must have given us an A because we have done so well.

 

So when you go to sleep at night, while I am so far away,

Just pray to God with all your might and you will hear him say:

 

Yes my child he loves you so and his heart is true

Just be patient and love him so and

I will send him home safely to you.

BM1 Victor K. Vincent
Submitted by: mselneus2@yahoo.com


Sleeping Soldiers

Let sleeping soldiers lie,
men who, while they snore and sigh,
dream about you
safe and warm
behind their armor and guns.

Let sleeping soldiers lie,
men who, as they say goodbye,
will always pack their gear and go
to where the danger runs.

Training hard, and laughing harder,
partaking of life's full larder,
a soldiers' lot is all for those
who think the cost is cheap.

Eager hearts, whose boldness longing,
with their fellowship belonging,
to shoulder arms to hold your freedom
for such, never weep!

For gladly marching, to dreadful daring,
any price or burden bearing,
keeping such as you in safety.
Loved ones wait to welcome home,

Heroes' triumph, victory gallant,
accolades for virtuous talent,
our best reward: to see you smiling,
stronger love than song or poem.

(c) 08 FEB 2004
JSR aka "Old Sarge"


Poem of the Month for January 2003

Thanks, Bear In NC
Used with permission and sent in by Gypsy

 

Cut The Skies

Soar, mighty bird of freedom.  Cut the skies,
with all the strength you can summon.  Cut the skies,
so all will know your greatness.  Call out to friends
around the world, as you soar above them,
so they may join you in flight.  Call to them,
to stand against the unholy masses, who cut
at your feathers.  Strike down those who claim the word
of the Almighty as they commit the acts of Satan against you.
Strike at their hearts, so they may know their sins.
Strike, so they may know you will not cower
at the face of evil.  Strike with your talons.
Rip apart those who would harm you.
Cut the skies, with all your might, so you may
forever soar in freedom.

SFC Keith L. Hardin
Sarajevo, Bosnia

 

 

I Was A Soldier

 

By Colonel Daniel K. Cedusky, USAR, Retired

 

I was a Soldier: That's the way it is, that's what we were...are. we put it, simply, without any swagger, without any brag, in those four plain words.

We speak them softly, just to ourselves.  Others may have forgotten

They are a manifesto to mankind; speak those four words anywhere in the world -- yes, anywhere -- and many who hear will recognize their meaning.

They are a pledge. A pledge that stems from a document which said: "I solemnly Swear”, “to protect and defend” and goes on from there, and from a Flag called "Old Glory".

Listen, and you can hear the voices echoing through them, words that sprang white-hot from bloody lips, shouts of “medic”, whispers of  “Oh God!”, forceful words of “Follow Me”.  If you can’t hear them, you weren’t, if you can you were.

"Don't give up the ship! Fight her till she dies... Damn the torpedoes! Go ahead! . . . Do you want to live forever? . . . Don't cheer, boys; the poor devils are dying."
Laughing words, and words cold as January ice, words that when spoken, were meant, .. "Wait till you see the whites of their eyes".  The echo's of I was a Soldier.

You can hear the slow cadences at Gettysburg, or Arlington honoring not a man, but a Soldier, perhaps forgotten by his nation...Oh! Those Broken Promises.

You can hear those echoes as you have a beer at the "Post", walk in a parade, go to The Wall, visit a VA hospital, hear the mournful sounds of tap, or gaze upon the white crosses, row upon row.

But they aren't just words; they're a way of life, a pattern of living, or a way of dying.

They made the evening, with another day's work done; supper with the wife and kids; and no Gestapo snooping at the door and threatening to kick your teeth in.

They gave you the right to choose who shall run our government for us, the right to a secret vote that counts just as much as the next fellow's in the final tally; and the obligation to use that right, and guard it and keep it clean.

They prove the right to hope, to dream, to pray; the obligation to serve.

These are some of the meanings of those four words, meanings we don't often stop to tally up or even list.

Only in the stillness of a moonless night, or in the quiet of a Sunday afternoon, or in the thin dawn of a new day, when our world is close about us, do they rise up in our memories and stir in our sentient hearts.

And we are remembering Wake Island, and Bataan, Inchon, and Chu Lai, Knox and Benning, Great Lakes and Paris Island, Travis and Chanute, and many other places long forgotten by our civilian friends.

They're plain words, those four. Simple words.

You could grave them on stone; you could carve them on the mountain ranges.

You could sing them, to the tune of "Yankee Doodle."

But you needn't. You needn't do any of those things, for those words are graven in the hearts of Veterans, they are familiar to 24,000,000 tongues, every sound and every syllable. If you must write them, put them on my Stone.

But when you speak them,  speak them softly, proudly, I will hear you, for I too,

I was a Soldier.

 Inspired By “Creed”  I am an American by Hal Borland

Colonel Daniel K. Cedusky, USAR, Retired

 

 

I am your Flag

I was born on June 14th, 1777.

I am more than just cloth shaped into a design.

I am the refuge of the World's oppressed people.

I am the silent sentinel of Freedom.

I am the emblem of the greatest sovereign nation on earth.

I am the inspiration for which American Patriots gave their lives and fortunes.

I have led your sons into battle from Valley Forge to the bloody swamps of

Viet Nam.

I walk in silence with each of your Honored Dead, to their final resting place

beneath the silent White Crosses, row upon row.

I have flown through Peace and War, Strife and Prosperity, and amidst it all I

have been respected.

My Red Stripes . . . symbolize the blood spilled in defense of this glorious nation.

My White Stripes . . . signify the burning tears shed by Americans who lost

their sons.

My Blue Field. . . is indicative of God's heaven under which I fly.

My Stars . . . clustered together, unify 50 States as one, for God and Country.

"Old Glory" is my nickname, and proudly I wave on high.

Honor me, respect me, defend me with your lives and your fortunes.

Never let my enemies tear me down from my lofty position, lest I never return.

Keep alight the fires of patriotism, strive earnestly for the spirit of democracy.

Worship Eternal God and keep His commandments, and I shall remain the

bulwark of peace and freedom for all mankind.

I am your Flag.

Sent in by Colonel Daniel K. Cedusky, USAR, Retired

 

 

 

A Warrior at the Gate!
B
y: Robert E. Gossard

As the Old Warrior lays in his bed, knowing that time has caught up to him!
He reminisces about his life as his last breath draws near!
When the silence of life slips past him, he finds himself traveling along a path full of stone!
As the Old Warrior approached the shining white light so far ahead, he stumbles, slips and falls, for the first part of his trip.
As he travels further up the path, the stones get larger and harder to climb over!
Bramble bushes began to take shape across the stony path as he continues on his trek!
The warrior of old starts to feel stronger and younger, as he treads though the jagged bushes, and a bounty of many sharp and pointy rocks!
As he continues his journey to the light, the years of worry and pain begin to disappear!

Once again he has become the Warrior of old, healthy and young once more!
He looks forward and sees the Golden Gates of Heaven as he turns the last bend of the path of torture and misery along his pathway to Heaven!
He has reached The Gates of Heaven, and the road is smooth and soft under his feet, as he approaches these last 100 yards to the gate!

As he walked toward the gate and a vision of a "Angel" appeared, just to say Halt!
Confused and dismayed, the Warrior's feet turns to cement!
In his frustration he heard, the "Angel" at the gate say, "He is coming," and then the Angel disappeared as mysteriously he had appeared!
With his feet still frozen in the cloud of mist beneath his feet, he watched with awe as the Gates of Heaven swung open!
Before his tearful eyes he sees a "Golden Throne" appear, and to its left another of smaller size, and to the right one the size of that which was on the left!
Three empty Golden Thrones, just a foot across the threshold, and out of the mist appear Three God like figures!
As he watched the bigger man, with Golden hair that flowed like silk from a thousand silk worms, and a beard that matched his flowing Gold hair, and "He" was dressed in Magnificent Royal Purple Robe with edges lined in Silver, and "He" approach His throne!
As this Monarch came toward the Center, and sat on His Great Throne, then the man in full Battle Armor cast in gold approached the left handed smaller throne!
Then the third man approached, dressed in only white with a Wreath of Gold above his head of long brown flowing hair, came forth, and seated himself to the right of this Majestic King!
The warrior had recognized the third, as Jesus Christ his Savior, and the one in the center was "God" himself!
The third and last was a puzzle, Then God spoke!
"Who are you Young Warrior and what do you want?"
"Be careful as you speak because you are before your God and Savior at my right, and The Great King David, King of all Earthly Kings, and The Warrior that defeated a Giant named Goliath with just the smallest of all weapons, a stone!"
The warrior thought for a moment and then replied!
"I am your child of Earth, and One that begs to come home!"

God said," you will have four question put before you, One from David on my left, One from my son on the right, and One from me . . . your Lord God in Heaven!"
The Warrior was confused because he only counted three questions to be asked!
Not wanting to look belligerent and unworthy before his maker, he held his tongue!

King David stood and pointed his finger toward the Warrior and said "Why have you come before us with the blood of your enemies on your hands?"
The Brave Warrior thought the first question through, and replied!
"I fought the battles of my enemies for My God, My Country, and My Family that is so precious to me!"
David looked hard at the Warrior, and then turned and sat down at the left hand of God!

Christ stood up and pointed his finger at the Brave Warrior and said, " How did You feel as you slew the Enemies of Your Lord?"
Again the Warrior thought his question thought, before he replied!
"I forgave may enemy for what he has done wrong, and I asked my Savior to forgive my sins, and wash my hands clean of blood."
Christ looked at the warrior with love and compassion, and turned and sat himself down on the right hand of God!   

Then the Lord in all his Glory stood, and looked at the Warrior, and asked with a soft voice," What have you learned as a warrior in my charge?"

The Warrior shook with uncertainty, and studied the face of God for just a hint of knowledge!
Seeing no sign of help, he thought long and hard about the Question, and then replied!
"I learned that we all have to make sacrifices in life to do your bidding, for I have
lost the visions of My children growing up with a father. I have asked them to forgive me for the time I spent away from home!  I lost the time to tell them what was right, and what was wrong!
I placed the heavy burden, and the charge of my children, on my beloved wife's hands, to raise them in the goodness of your image!
But most of all I lacked the compassion, and good sense to tell my Family that . . .  I loved them"!

God looked at the Warrior with both love and compassion and sat down!  Jesus bent over and whispered something in God's right ear; then as Jesus did . . . King David leaned over and whispered something in God's left ear!

Then, They stood as they had appeared, they then walked back through the cloudy mist, and "They" like the "Three Thrones of Heaven," just disappeared from the entrance of the Gate!

Confused and startled the Warrior stood alone thinking back on what he, Lord God had said!
There would be four Questions, and there was only three!
Had this Brave Warrior climbed this path to heaven only to turn, and find his way to Hell?
Then the Angel that had first greeted him when he arrived, reappeared!
In his hands he had a suit of Golden Armor and a sword of Gold and Silver.
The Angel said "I am Gabriel, Guardian of the Gates of Heaven!"

My question to you is, " If I give you this Armor of Gold that has with-in it the wings of an Angel, and this Sword of Truth and Justice, what will You do?"

As the Warrior thought this question through, he saw a Choir of Angels with Wings of Gold and armor to match, appear in the background in a familiar Military Formation.
The warrior looked up and replied, "I will guard the Gates of Heaven from the enemies of God" -- as he spoke he noticed that the Formation of Angels, took one step back!
He then thought about his answer, and continued to say," I will be the guardian of my people, and spread the word that all men are equal and brothers in the eyes of Our lord,
And Peace should be among them all!

At that moment the Warrior's feet became free, and as he looked down he saw the Golden Armor encasing his body as the Gates of Heaven . . .  closed behind him!
There was no longer a Warrior at the Gate! For he has become one of the "Host of Angels," and as this "Choir of Angels" surrounded him, he was told, that he was to
The Guardian Angel of a peaceful planet Earth!
After All you see, Warriors do go to heaven!


Written by: Robert E. Gossard
ETCS    USN Ret.
August 27, 2001
Rgoss27443@ aol.com

 

 

 

The American Patriot

Some stayed after the Revolutionary War!
Some stayed behind after the War of 1812!
Some stayed after the Civil War!
Some stayed behind after the Spanish American War!
Some stayed after WW I!
Some stayed behind after WW II!
Some stayed after the Korean Conflict!
Some stayed behind after the Cuban Missile Crisis!
Some stayed after Vietnam!
Some stayed behind after Granada!
Some stayed after Panama!
Some stayed behind after Desert storm!
Some stayed after Somalia and Kosavo!
Some will stay and train the new Soldiers, the new Sailors, the new Marines, and the new Airman of tomorrow!

Some will always stay to train the heroes' of tomorrow . . . There will always be lifers. Some will stay 20 and some will stay 30 years to train and teach our young to survive the wars against our enemies!

Some will be healthy, some will be lame. But never let it be said that we did not give all.

As you read these stories before you, you will find that we are no different in our cause! We stand as one, and we stand as brothers; we are the blue and the green!

As the sounds of battle grew dim on the bloody battlefield, and the Gunny Sergeant rolled over the man who laid on top of him. He was one of many that had fallen this day, he was a hero. The gunny check his wounds, one on his shoulder and one in his leg, as he listened to the sounds of free air. He knew the battle was over. He heard the sounds of his countrymen hollering for help, the wound and the dying. The Gunny pulled himself over to aid his fallen Comrades. He placed Pressure bandages on their bloody wounds, and dragged them on to the next man.  The Gunny knew that some would live and some would die.  But he made these heroes' safe and secure. For you see these were the hero's that he led into battle for Freedom, and the Love of his Country.  Besides, a Marine never leaves his wounded behind!

The Airman, who had just gotten shot down, crawled through the underbrush to safety, after checking his flight crew.  They were all dead and he was bruised and cut with a broken leg. Patching himself up the best he could; the airman looked around for someone to help him, no one was there!  Deep in enemy territory he knew he had to get back to his lines.  Wait, he watched, he listened as voices came from afar, he heard the words and the voice of an American.  Crawling through the brush toward the voices he heard, for he knew he was saved. Loud noises, gun fire, mortar shells flying over his head.  The injured airman could only pray that his country men would win. He was alone and hurt, and he wanted to see his family again.  He looks up after passing out from pain. and sees a soldier, who said. We have been looking for you, it's time to go home!

The skipper of the Swift Boat, drives his boat down the river with his two passengers, a Navy Seal Team, sitting quite and unconcerned. The mission was secret, but the Skipper knew it was right.  As he drops off his shipmates at the designated rondeavu, he knew that he was needed to return in a day or two. As this skipper guided his boat up the river, taking on mortar and Machine gun fire. As you are probably aware, the Skipper knew his shipmates would be waiting for him to pick them up.  The Navy seal carried his partner through the brush, with wounds that may take his life.
But he knew the Skipper would be there to pick them up.  The Seal heard the sound of a quite Swift Boat motor, and as he and the boat nears the rivers' edge.
The Skipper helps him load his shipmate aboard, he knew that he was dead, but The Navy Seals never leave their dead behind.

It's important that we take that hill, the Captain said to his Sergeant and first Lt.!  1st Lt. take your men around the right, and climb the hill as quite as possible, I'll climb the hill up the left, and the sergeant will go up through the middle.  As the tree groups of soldiers moved to the top of the hill under heavy fire, the battle was soon won and the hill was theirs.  The sergeant was wounded in the stomach and in the upper leg, the captain had head wounds' and a bullet in the arm, the First Lt. was dead about half way down the hill.
The medic dressed the wounds and the radioman radioed for medavac, for his wounded and dead. They took the hill, they were American heroes'.

Now all this sounds like trite but all these survivors stayed behind as the rest went home to family and friends.  They stayed behind because they were American Patriots that stayed for 20 and 30 years to train the men that came after them. They asked nothing from their country men as they trained the New American Patriots and heroes', teaching them that they are one in battle, and they never leave their wounded behind.

Most of these heroes' left the Military service with their disabilities, as earned Badges of Honor, as an American fighting man.  All he asks for is his Retirement Check, competent Medical care and a Disability check to off set what he could earn if he wasn't disabled. He knew like many American men of Honor, he would have to raise his children in the way of most Americans. Most of the time his disabilities were minor at discharge, but as he got older he became worse, and his Checks don't change Because his the Government Disability Center have orders to say No, or to release minimal money's for increased disabilities!

This issue of retirement and earned Medical care stems from the Civil War, yet no one even attempted to right this wrong over the course of many Wars.  So, when you fill frustrated and wondering why you fight for this issue of Concurrent pay.  Think back at all the buddy's you left behind, and the sacrifices you made, to insure it doesn't happen again!

We are the Disabled and wounded teacher of the Healthy and bright.  If it wasn't for Us, the Army of One; would be the Army of . . . None!


Written by:
Robert E. Gossard
ETCS        USN Ret.
Disabled in the service of my Country

RGoss27443@aol.com

 

 

 

 

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