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I Was There. . .

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I Was There. . .

 Veteran's Day it seems to me,

Might become another day

Another holiday so-to-speak

A day off work with pay

 

Sadly also I suspect

That given the present "war"

That when the final battle is fought

We'll never know what for?

 

Regardless the situation

Be the motives wrong or right

Ofttimes it's the young that's asked

To fight the current fight

 

Yet my missive is neither protest

Or critical of current events

It's merely written to share my thoughts

Of a time most recently spent

 

I was there when the fallen soldier

Was finally laid to rest

I stood there in that graveyard

As the sun raced toward the west

 

The solder who lay before us

Had come from a little town,

And of all whom came to pay respect

Not a dry eye could be found

 

A color guard was present

Flags flapped there in the breeze,

Soldiers saluted smartly,

Then stood silently at ease

 

The chaplain gave a reverent farewell

To a comrade he'd never known,

And though a multitude was gathered

Each felt quite alone

 

The color guard moved toward the cask

And stood on either side,

The bugler then took up his post

With purpose and with pride

 

Riflemen then took their posts

And upon command did they

Fire equal volleys totaling three

Which pierced the calm of day

 

White gloved hands took up the flag

That lay on the coffin there,

The bugler then did poise himself

And notes then filled the air

 

The sounds of Taps were mournful

And everything stood still,

Though the day was very balmy

The notes did cause a chill

 

As the notes echoed in the distance

The flag now neatly creased,

Was presented to the next-of-kin

When the bugler's play had ceased

 

I remembered the fallen soldier

Once strong and very tall,

Proud, brave and honored

Who'd answered duty's call

 

I thought of others like him

Who had fallen on foreign lands,

Those that died in shallow foxholes

Or upon the coastal sands

 

I thought of pilots shot down

Of sailors buried at sea,

Of unknowns resting in Arlington

Who kept our nation free

 

I thought of all the families

And interrupted lives

Of all the telegrams which were sent

To mothers and to wives

 

I thought of all the children

That never came to be,

And realized that freedom

Is something that's not free

 

So when Veteran's Day next comes around

Take pause in your busy life

Remember those who sacrificed

And gave all with their life

 

And whatever you might be thinking

About what I've had to say,

Remember this if nothing else . . .

A soldier will be buried today

 

 Ray E. Kauer

11-14-03

 

The above was sent to me by my brother. I noticed his signature below the poem. I asked him if he had written it and told him it was very good. He replied:

 Yes I did and thank you. Now I'll share why.

 The morning of Nov 11th, the 6:00 a.m. TV news led with the number of soldier's killed in Iraq the previous day.

 Also, and on Nov 11th, nearly every government agency was closed (local/state and federal courts, city halls and so on). It dawned on me that perhaps the majority of those that did not have the day off might possibly be veterans. (I think a study on that should be done).

 That night, the paper's front-page headline concerned Dow and other issues. Though it carried some articles about veterans, those articles it seemed were there because they would be expected.

 In September, I had attended the funeral of the father of a friend. His father was WWII veteran. (WWII vets are dying at a rate of 12,000 per day).

So....after reflecting about the events of Nov 11th, coupled with the memory of the funeral I had attended (and others like it)....and given the mortality rate of veterans .....those issues festered and boiled to the point of inspiration and hence.....the poem.

I understand that I over-answered your question but.....as Paul Harvey often said:  

"...now you know the rest of the story..."

 

I have always respected him and have been proud to call him my brother. I didnít know that he had the skill and passion to write a poem like the above. It truly speaks to one's heart. I am more proud of him than ever.

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