Our Harley Days
Our Rides... Our Adventures... Our Family and Friends...
Traveling free and easy down a road that never ends...

Thursday, February 19, 2015

There's a reason they are called the greatest generation

February 19, 2015
Fort Collins, CO

Every year for many years my hometown of Wichita Falls, Texas has hosted a Iwo Jima Reunion for WWII Veterans. Every year my Folks, Family and Friends stand the flag line at the reenactment of the raising of the American flag on Mount Suribachi 23rd February 1945. The battle of Iwo Jima would wage from 19th of February until the 26th of March 1945. Every year there are a few less WWII Veterans to honor. This year -- 2015 -- marked the end of the Iwo Jima Reunion. It is the end of an era but we will never forget the reason they are called the greatest generation.

This will be the bloodiest fight in Marine Corps history. We'll catch seven kinds of hell on the beaches, and that will be just the beginning. The fighting will be fierce, and the casualties will be awful, but my Marines will take the damned island. -- Lieutenant General Holland M. "Howlin' Mad" Smith, USMC (Iwo Jima was the only Marine battle where the American casualties, 26,000, exceeded the Japanese -- most of the 22,000 defending the island.)

The raising of the American Flag
February 23, 1945 on Mount Suribachi Japan.

(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.

Source: I get this poem in my email periodically, often often not attributed to the actual author or attributed as unknown. But the poem was written in 1987 and appeared in the author's newspaper column at that time. Vaincourt now offers a selection of poetry in print - check it out. Common Soldier.com
Iwo Jima

No comments:

Post a Comment

Ride safe. Ride free. Thanks for visiting Our Harley Days. Your feedback is appreciated. -V- P.S. All comments are moderated - spammers get your jollies elsewhere.