Old soldier at the park, proudly holding the American flag.

My Father's Story

My father was a quiet man
who bore his burdens well.
When asked about his troubles,
he said, I'll never tell.

Fate took him on a different course
from the things that most folks do;
and for years I didn't know
the trials that he'd been through.

His mother died from infection
just days after he was born,
leaving behind a husband
torn by worry, sorrow and scorn.

Cared for by a grandmother
until she passed away,
a young boy had to grow up fast
and learn to work, not play.

Then along came the Great Depression
when jobs could rarely be found;
where men lived on hope and handouts
as they searched from town to town.

These were times that tried men s souls,
but the trials helped many grow strong.
They learned to stand on their own two feet,
relying on wit and brawn.

Even as their chests filled up with pride,
they were blessed with humility, too.
They bowed their heads and thanked their God
for helping them make do.

All that they learned; all that they were
lifted pride in America, too,
and so they were willing to fight and die
to preserve the Red, White and Blue.

The Army/Air Corp recruited my dad
before he was eighteen years old.
He marched away in uniform,
determined that he would be bold.

He was there on base in Pearl Harbor
when the Japanese came to call;
a witness to death and destruction,
he feared the country would fall.

In those next few shocking hours,
Americans fell to their knees
and when the fire and smoke cleared,
they took to the air and the seas.

United in their righteousness,
and sworn to right a wrong,
our people pulled together
and by acting as one, they were strong.

With grit and determination
and prayers throughout the land,
the enemy was defeated
because Americans took a stand.

And for a while, we were at peace
and soldiers rested well,
even as they stood on guard,
they knew that war was hell.

Then once again, he sailed away
to serve on the Philippine shore,
then on to Japan and Korea,
he was rarely at home any more.

For many years he chose to serve
both at peace and under fire,
until he came to realize
that it was time to retire.

Then he lived the quiet civilian life
as just an ordinary man.
He spent his time going off to work
and coming home again.

Then in the spring of 66,
came a call from Uncle Sam
and like many a retired old soldier,
he went off to Viet Nam.

This war was very different
from the wars he'd fought before.
Our heroes were not honored
when they returned to our shore.

Many died on the battlefield;
many more were scarred and maimed.
Saddest of all, were the broken
who lived to endure the shame.

It's said old soldiers never die,
and I believe that it's true.
They're standing guard in Heaven,
watching out for me and you.

~ Linda Lee Gleason ~
Copyright © 2011
All Rights Reserved
[ By: Linda Lee Gleason, Copyright © 2011 ( llgleason@bellsouth.net ) -- submitted by: Linda Gleason ]

Email Friend.     Back.     Print Page.

Inspirational Poems     SkyWriting.Net     All Rights Reserved.