Around Memorial Day I saw a picture that was making the rounds on Facebook. It was “Unless You’ve Been A Soldier” by Clive Sanders. This very strong poem is worth reading and can be found here. Please take the time to read it. It is definitely worth it.
When it was posted as a photo, I read the comments and found a very moving and what I feel is a wonderful poem describing life from the spouses’ side of serving our great country by Christina Love titled “Unless You’ve Been Married To A Soldier”. This poem is the most popular comment on the photo and is at the top of the comments. I ask that you take a moment to read both poems in their entirety. If you do so, the three together can offer a rare look into what the whole family of a soldier may feel when they serve in our armed forces. This may not be true for all military families, but it touched a nerve in me that made me feel it is true of mine from my point of view at least.
I have contacted both authors about posting their poems in their entirety in this post and have not received a response. If I should receive their permission, I will update this post to include them. I do not agree with using someone else’s work without their permission and so do not do it.
Unless You’ve Been A Soldier
You just won’t understand.
The things that we have seen and done,
In the service of our land.
We were trained to live in combat,
And to deal with awful sights,
That shouldn’t be seen by anyone
And keep you awake at nights.We don’t discuss the wounds we have,
To the body or the mind.
We just put our hurts behind us,
And turn our memories blind.
We are proud we served our country,
But remember those we lost.
For the freedom that you have today,
They paid the awful cost.
On Veteran’s Day, I offer my poem “The Child of A Veteran”. I didn’t write about being the child of a soldier because my dad had been out of the Navy for a long time before I came to be. Although he was no longer an active member of America’s military, in many ways he still serves the country that we all love so much today. You see, he fought in the Vietnam War and like so many others who have gone off to war, there is a part of him that will be there fighting that war forever.
The Child of A Veteran
Unless you’re the child of a veteran, there’s no way to understand,
The things that happened after our parents served our land.
All the time we wonder just what made them go and fight,
For a country that seems not to care if they have a meal or bed at night.
They went off to battle and served in all your wars,
They saw and experienced things that shook them to their core.
They were trained to live in battle while we learned to live in silence,
Giving them space to grieve their losses as we dodged residual violence.
Childhood ended much too quickly turning us into small grownups,
Taking care to not do things that might cause them to blow up.
Raised with great discipline to some great imagined code,
We’re not supposed to understand, just do what we are told.
Cry yourself to sleep at night, but never let them see,
They have enough to deal with without extra stress from me.
Everything is just perfect or so it must always appear,
Don’t let anyone get close, not even those we hold most dear.
We could not be prouder of our parents who served, but please understand,
It’s the WHOLE FAMILY that pays when a soldier serves our land.