"Sharing can be a way of healing. Grief and loss can isolate,
anger even alienate. Shared with others, emotions unite
as we see we aren't alone. We realize others weep with us."
~Susan Wittig Albert

Through our writing, we walk out of the darkness into the light
together, one small step at a time, recording history, educating
America, and we are healing.
~CJ/Todd Dierdorff

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Just a Common Soldier

Vet Memorial

(A Soldier Died Today)
by A. Lawrence Vaincourt

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

My thanks to Craig Latham for sending this to me today in an email.  For those who are interested, here's a website with several books by Mr. Vaincourt.  A. Lawrence Vaincourt Books

“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do. And by the grace of God, I will.” ~Everett Hale


  1. From Facebook:
    Thanks for sharing this poem with us CJ...heartfelt sentiments written in this...
    Micke Jinks

  2. From Facebook:
    I've seen this many times before, but every time I read it, it still makes me reflect. I can picture him sitting at the bar with his buddies around. The ones that understand what he is saying and the reason he needs to say it. I have let all of my memberships expire. VFW, Fleet Reserve etc. Maybe it's time to rejoin some of them. I'm sure that along with the old timers, there is a new batch of men and women that want, make that need, an understanding ear. I posted the link on my page. I believe it is something every American should read. Thank you to every man and woman that has stepped up to defend this great nation.
    David Westfall

  3. Thank you for the link, David. I agree with you, it's something every American should read -- I think it makes us think about things and understand. I belong to the American Legion here in DuBois. Yes, you should rejoin one or two. There are many who want and need to talk. You have a nice way of not only listening, but speaking. You touch hearts. Not everyone can do both, my friend.
    Hugs to you,

  4. From Facebook:
    A Vietnam Vet friend of mine saw the link on my page. I sent you a friend suggestion for Jim. He is an intelligent and honorable man. Hopefully he will contribute too. I hope you don't mind, but I used your words and "welcomed him home".
    David Westfall

  5. I saw that, David, and sent him an invitation. Any friend of yours is a friend of mine. He will be welcomed and treated with the respect he deserves. Thank you.

  6. From Facebook:
    A very heartfelt tribute to a forgotten soldier, who fought so bravely in the face of a tumultuous time. And returned home unwelcomed by many. Glad that your work on this project is a success. You're a beautiful person, CJ. I miss so much during the week with the little ones. So tonight I am trying to see what my friends are up to. And found this great story.
    Kay Easterling

  7. Thank you for your thoughtfulness, Kay. You're pretty special, yourself.

  8. From Facebook:
    It was so perfect to be able to share this with my Viet Nam veteran friend- I feel he can use the blessings of your web site- and the knowledge there are people who do understand all he gave us.
    John Bidwell


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