A Veteran Died Today

He was getting old and paunchy and his hair was falling fast,
and he sat around the Legion telling stories of the past.
Of the war he had fought in and the deeds that he had done.
In his exploits with his buddies they were heroes, everyone.
And ‘tho sometimes, to his neighbors, his tales became a joke,
all his buddies listened, for they knew whereof he spoke.
But we’ll hear his tales no longer, for ol’ Bob has passed away,
and the world’s a little poorer for a veteran died today.

No, 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, quietly going 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 thousands note their passing and proclaim they were
great.  Papers tell their life stories, from the time they
were young, but the passing of a veteran goes unnoticed and
unsung.  Is the greatest contribution to the welfare of our land
some jerk who breaks his promise 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?

The politician’s stipend and the style in which he lives
are sometimes disproportionate to the service that he gives.
While the ordinary veteran, who has offered up his all,
is paid off with a medal and perhaps a pension, small.
It’s so easy to forget them, for it is so long ago, that our Bobs
and Jims and Johnnys went to battle, but we know. It
was not the politicians and their compromises 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, who has sworn to defend his home,
his kin and country, and 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, then we find the military’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, for a veteran died today.


(Inscribed on the Washington War Memorial)