March


From the windows, walking by
Cities fall, and children die.
Through the windows, through the eyes
Soldiers march, and soldiers cry.
Past the broken welcome sign
Soldiers march the streets to die.
Locked inside a final fight
Soldiers march, and soldiers cry.
Broken hope, believing lies
In the land where senses die.
Praying, walking through the night
Soldiers march, and soldiers cry.
Raining fire from the sky
Time is marching, passing by.
The empty, soulless children’s eyes
Soldiers march, and soldiers cry.
Hope rises, hope declines
None the power of divine.
Beneath the empty, blackened sky
Soldiers march, and soldiers cry.
In my heart, they will be mine
Soldiers marching, line by line.
As cities fall and children die
Soldiers march, and soldiers cry.

Summer Sandercox

#Stop22ADay

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Parachute Descent


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Band of Brothers E Company, 506 Infantry Regiment (Easy Company)

Snap back the canopy,
Pull out the oxygen tube,
Flick the harness pin
And slap out into the air,
Clear of the machine.
Read more

gun salute


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gun salute–

in every fold of the flag

his sacrifices

Unknown

Rage Against the Dying of the Light


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“Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
Dylan Thomas, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Although Dylan Thomas wrote this for his dying father, I feel it fits here, too. Not only for our military but for our country.

The Hollow Men


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This poem by T.S. Elliott is widely seen as a characterization of Western society after the Great War, a condemnation of the Treaty of Versailles, which did little to alleviate tensions and create peace among Western powers. 
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Helmand


USNATO-poppies2

(British) Author’s introduction

This poem concerns the [current] operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. My intention was to draw parallels between military operations using the poppy which is grown extensively for opium and ironically is also the symbol we use for Remembrance Day.

 

Helmand… Read more

Merry Christmas, My Friend (a perennial military favorite)


A U.S. Marine sleeps in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province

*

Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone,
In a one-bedroom house made of plaster and stone.

I had come down the chimney with presents to give,
And to see just who in this home did live.

I looked all about, a strange sight did I see,
No music, no presents, not even a tree. Read more

Between the Threads of Life and Sacrifice


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Grab some tissue…

This was written by veteran Marine Mr. M. and posted publicly (with image) on Google Plus. Follow him there by clicking his name.

Is there a place where we’re all meant to be, a place between the threads of life and sacrifice, fate and luck, is there a place in the distance like this for me, and if so what’s a lad like me to do? Is it a vanishing door in time and space, that if we’re to step inside it becomes a suicide raid? To never return to those we love with every ounce of are being. A vanishing soldier once there,  now never to return. Tap tap on his family’s door, the dreaded door no person wishes to open but must, this will be the last time a Marine knocks on his widows door, as he shouts from the clouds above, don’t bother I won’t die, I promise you those tears will dry, don’t feel sorry I’ll be fine, we will meet once more my sweet, so don’t bother, live like we were going to and know that I’ll always keep an eye on you. Just in case, I forget that gorgeous face.

The Flying Dutchman: A Poem


They tell me of a Captain who from Davy’s side was torn

who sailed his ship the Dutchman in the wind around the Horn.

No ship had ever sailed in such a storm around the key;

this ship was like no other as it sliced the savage sea.

The men were made of granite, Aye! The deck was made of steel;

the strongest wave of Neptune couldn’t turn the iron keel.

They saw him in the fury turn his ship into the gale,

a single beam of light reflecting ‘low the billowed sail.

With courage of the living – and ‘tross* above his mast

he was lost in crushing waves that bury ships in the past.

The Dutchman did not perish in the deep beneath the sea,

instead he lives as guardian of ships that sail the ‘lee*.

Out around the Horn he sails in the fury of the night

and naught do sailors see but of the hull and glowing light.

He awaits the eerie day when the storm will bring him on

when he again can sail into the harbor with the dawn.

Another ship must founder in the place the Dutchman fell

releasing his curs’d crew from Satan’s iron grip in hell.

You can see him in the lightning – his crew the devil’s knaves

reflecting giant shadows from the sails across the waves.

He sails the boiling ocean, flying in the clouds on high,

awaiting now the cursed ship that Fate will bring to die.

That ship will raise its anchor on the tide that brings the morn

to meet the fated Captain who from Davy’s side was torn.
Author Name: Tristan

Duty to Our Flag



by Edgar A. Guest

Less hate and greed
Is what we need
And more of service true;
More men to love
The flag above
And keep it first in view.

Less boast and brag
About the flag,
More faith in what it means;
More heads erect,
More self-respect,
Less talk of war machines.

The time to fight
To keep it bright
Is not along the way,
Nor’ cross the foam,
But here at home
Within ourselves today.

‘Tis we must love
That flag above
With all our might and main;
For from our hands
Not distant lands
Shall come dishonor’s stain.

If that flag be
Dishonored, we
Have done it not the foe;
If it shall fall,
We, first of all,
Shall have to strike the blow.

Image source

A Saga of June the Sixth: Tribute to 82nd & 101st Airborne–Normandy


The following was written in tribute to D-day paratroopers of the 82nd and 101st
Airborne Divisions, by a fellow trooper who belonged to HQ Co. 551st PIB.  I met
the deceased trooper’s son rather by chance today and he shared the hand-written poem, which I will transcribe below.  I think it reveals how bitterly troopers regarded combat-and their mortal enemies, at that time.

Airborne troops prepare for the descent on Europe of D-Day invasion June 6, 1944.

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The Beauty of War: Vietnam


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     The following poem was written by Vietnam veteran,  Curt Bennett © 2003

War at night

Has a special beauty,
There is nothing anywhere,
That can quite compare. Read more

Shipmates


These are the men that sailed with me
In the Colonies clipper
Mary Ambree
.

These are the men that kept her going
Through the fog and the ice and the big gales blowing:
Skipper and bosun, mates and sails,
Tough as leather and hard as nails,
Wise in the ways of seas and ships,
Soaked in brine to the finger-tips.

These are the chaps that toiled together
In Trade and Doldrum and black Horn weather:
Stood their trick on a beggarly whack
Of junk and limejuice and mouldy tack,
Scoured and holystoned, reefed and furled,
Watch and watch round the whole wet world,
Hauled and sweated at sheets and braces
With the sun in their eyes or the sleet in their faces,
Fought and fisted the frozen courses
On footropes jumping like bucking horses.

These are the men that sailed and manned,
Worked her and drove her from land to land,
Most of ’em gone, as the ships are gone,
For times must change, as the old words run,
And men change with ’em, we know full well;
For worse or for better? Time will tell.
This only is certain – ships and men,
We never shall build their likes again.

Prelude: The Eagle Has Landed


Armstrong, Collins and Aldrin

#Apollo 11

Armstrong, Collins and Aldrin
were the three that made up the crew
to be the first men to set foot on the moon
was what they were determined to do.

1969 was the year that it happened
16 July was the day
early that morning the blast-off took place
Apollo 11 was sent on its way. Read more

Goodbye, Old Pal


Goodbye, old Pal,
I’ve been to hell and back
again;
There’s where you fell,
in mud, in blood, and rain.
Sure, we won —
you paid the bill;
You swapped your life for
that green hill;
Goodbye, old Pal.

Goodbye, old Pal.
We’re sailing home,
our job is done;
But still your grave’s a trench
against the Hun.

Call us back;
we’ll make our stand
Where you keep guard
in No Man’s Land.

Goodbye, old Pal.

Anonymous
Stars and Stripes; April 11, 1919

note: image is not the author or the poems subject.