From the Ranch

From the Ranch

Monday, November 11, 2013

One Last Tribute as the Day Fades to My Favorite Soldiers

My father love being a Soldier, would have been a "lifer," but for two things.  While serving on Guam, in the occupation forces right after WWII, he contracted Malaria, and almost died, the doctor told him to put affairs in order, and the priest came to administer, last rights.  He weakly spoke up, "but I'm Baptist and I am not going to die."  My daughter Beth joined the National Guard because of my father's "Army Stories," because of course he did not die.  While home resting, and preparing to return to service, he met my mother, and the rest was history, because she loved her family so, and needed to be close to them, and my father loved her so, it has been 65 years, now, he still loves her. 

I wrote this some years ago...

It is a favorite of mine, as are old Soldiers.

 

Old Soldiers Sleep Soundly at Night

When they lay down their gray head old soldiers sleep soundly at night.
They have borne the battle; they have fought the good fight.

When liberty and the freedom which Our Almighty ordained,
Was threatened forever to be forgotten, and liberty to be stained.

The call had gone out for men with bold courage and heart,
For those willing to wage war, yet from honor never to depart.

He had been young then, confident, and full of vim and vigor.
Muscled and strong, he had possessed the necessary will to pull the trigger.

Soon he learned just how hard and unforgiving meeting the enemy would be.
In those moments another life would be taken, no other way could he see.

Because the enemy had been impossible by any words or reason to hold at bay,
Inside without pause he realized he could defend all he loved in no other way.

After that first battle when the stranger lay dead at his feet.
His mind had reeled in despair knowing that he had sent him his Maker to meet.

It seemed forever he was in a foreign land where all he could see was sand.
Victory  could be won only by making a committed stand. 

Years had rolled by as in service to the conflict he came and he went.
His children grew up while he was at war, the enemy would not relent.

The sparkle in the eyes of his beautiful wife had slowly died.
For too many nights she lay lonely and sad as she had cried.

They both had known that his absence had been without doubt required.
While she grieved at time forever lost, his dedication she deeply admired.

At long last he had put in his time and had come home never to leave.
For a long time what he had seen caused him deep inside to quietly grieve.

Then the years and hard gained wisdom softened the wounds of his soul.
Peacefully and never forgetting the cost of freedom, he had grown old.

The nightmares and images seared on his heart at the time,
Always he had deliberately kept in a contained corner of his mind.

Whenever the flag passed or the pledge of allegiance was said.
Love of his country and memories of the fallen caused a tear to be shed.

More than most, he knew the price that always had to be paid,
To preserve the country from those whose vanity sent them on evil crusades.

 His own answering of the call for defenders of all that we hold dear,
Was the thing that caused him to sleep without worry or fear.

His own debt for the privilege of life in our country whose truth is self-evident.
Had been paid and he knew that his final sleep was growing eminent.

Sometimes good men must do dreadful things in order to pass on to those they love,
The benefits and opportunities of that great precept from above.

When they lay down their gray head, old soldiers sleep soundly at night
They have borne the battle, they have fought the good fight.