LEST WE FORGET
JUST A COMMON SOLDIER (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 neighbours, 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 thousand 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 honour 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.
Photos courtesy of the Marmora Legion
Video produced by Tom O'Neill
Visit the Canadian Virtual War Memorial
(Produced by Veterans Affairs Canada )
The Canadian Virtual War Memorial (CVWM) is a registry of the more than 118,000 Canadians and Newfoundlanders who have given their lives serving Canada or the United Kingdom. It was established to allow all Canadians the opportunity to honour and remember their sacrifices.
A poem written by a soldier in the battlefield. The author is unknown unfortunately. The words were found penned on the flyleaf of an iron-clad waterproof wrapped bible on the battlefield. Printed in Belleville Intelligencer
"What a Friend"
Look, God, I have never spoken to you, But now I want to say, "How do you do?” You see, God, they told me you didn't exist, And like a fool, I believed all this.
I wonder God, if you'd shake my hand, Somehow, I feel that you will understand. Funny I had to come to this hellish place Before I had time to see your face.
Last night from a shell hole, I saw your sky, I figured then they had told me a lie.
Had I taken time to see things you made I'd have known they weren't calling a spade a spade.
Well, I guess there isn't much more to say, But I'm glad, God, I met you today. I guess the zero hour will soon be here But I'm not afraid since I know you're near.
The signal. Well God, I'll have to go. I like you lots - that I want you to know. Look now, this will be a horrible fight, Who knows - I may come to your house tonight.
Though I wasn't a friend to you before, I wonder, God, if you could wait at your door? Look, I'm crying! Me - shedding tears! I wish I'd known you these many years.
Well, I have to go now, God, good-bye, Strange, since I met you, I'm not afraid to die.