This poem was written for those politicians whom historically, have been so eager to commit U.S. troops to foreign wars, but have been unwilling to serve there themselves. Lucius Annaeus Seneca said, “Be cautious of a man who suggests an action, in which he himself incurs no risk”.
This is not meant to speak lightly of those who have not served in the military, just those who hurriedly, send others to war to increase their own wealth.
However, given the state of our youth today, it might not be a bad idea to require a mandatory service for all able-bodied youth 18 years of age or older. The discipline they’d receive is much needed.
They Never Served a Day
By Ronald Brown
They have conscripted the nation’s young men and boys.
They have counted lives lost and rendered them into scores;
Not as single souls sacrificed for Freedom’s worthy cause,
But lives cast rudely upon a scale judging losers from victors.
But those whose sons are at home warm and safe
It is they who’ve sent the country’s less fortunate into harm’s way.
They declare, “Americans will go anywhere; bear any burden; any price we’ll pay!”
But those who decide, who lives and who dies, have never served a day.
They sold death and destruction to the nation’s, “Greatest Generation”;
A generation that survived the “Dust Bowl” and the “Great Depression.
Only to die cold, gaunt, sick and hungry in the foxholes of Bataan;
Or, facing the deadly, blinding red sun of Nippon’s Pearl Harbor mission.
The Deciders, who themselves are at home; warm and safe;
Have sent entire generations of the unfortunate to early graves.
They trumpet with pride, “We’ll fight anywhere, bear any burden; any price we’ll pay!”
The ones who decide, how many lives some dirt is worth, have never served a day.
The blood of the ones who were sent; who fought valiantly and then died,
Ran through the Asian jungles like the tears from their dear mother’s eyes;
While the greedy specter of Death feasted on Pork Chop and Hamburger Hills and rice.
And the vultures screeched a chorus of, “’Oh say can you see by the dawn’s “Arc Light’”
But the ones who sent them are at home warm and safe;
Serving the public a meal of deceit and fabrication on a televised plate;
Telling them with confidence, “We’ll fight anywhere; bear any burden, any price we’ll pay!”
But these “good old guys” with their deceptions and lies have themselves, never served a day.
Today, none can say that deserts are dry when rivers of blood flow freely there.
“Desert Storms” with desert winds sting with sands of death and despair.
“Enduring Freedom” is what is at stake for the good of mankind everywhere,
Except, the “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave”, where freedom’s deceptively rare.
There upon a white hill is a shining palace, golden, warm and safe.
The men up there fight political battles; with fighting men’s lives they play.
Why, if they took the battlefield with the same zest and zeal we’d win each and every fray.
But alas, these “warriors” wield only empty words and they have never served a day.
Behold now the coffins dressed in the American Flag lined up in a final formation;
Waiting to be delivered to grieving families all across the nation;
Men and women who’ve proudly served in battles, campaigns, offenses and operations;
Heroes resting in peace in “Gardens of Stone”, on whose monuments their deeds are emblazoned.
“Wherein lies our security? It is the American man at arms. From personal experience I know how well he guards us. I have seen him die at Verdun, at St. Mihiel, at Guadalcanal; in the foxholes of Bataan, in the batteries of Corregidor, in the battle areas of Korea; on land, on sea, and in the air; amidst jungle and swamp, hot sands and frozen reaches, in the smoldering mud of shell pocked roads and dripping trenches. He was gaunt and he was ghostly; he was grieved and he was loused; he was filthy and he stank; and I loved him.
He died hard, that American fighting man. Not like a dove which when hit, folds its wings gently and comes down quietly. But like a wounded wolf at bay, with lips curled back in a snarl. He left me with an abiding faith in the future of this nation; a faith that our beloved land will once more know the serenity of hope without fear; a faith in the course of our destiny as a free, prosperous, and happy people.”
~General Douglas McArthur
“Here dead lie we because we did not choose
To live and shame the land from which we sprung.
Life, to be sure, is nothing much to lose;
But young men think it is, and we were young.”