Just A Common Soldier
(A Soldier Died Today)

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    He was getting old and paunchy
    and his hair was falling fast,
    And he sat around the Legion,
    telling stories of the past.
    Of a war that he had fought in
    and the deeds that he had done,
    In his exploits with his buddies;
    they were heroes, every one.
    And 'tho sometimes, to his neighbors,
    his tales became a joke,
    All his Legion buddies listened
    for they knew whereof he spoke.
    But we'll hear his tales no longer
    for old Bill has passed away,
    And the world's a little poorer,
    for a soldier died today.
    He will not be mourned by many,
    just his children and his wife,
    For he lived an ordinary
    and quite uneventful life.
    Held a job and raised a family,
    quietly going his own way,
    And the world won't note his passing, 
    "Tho a Soldier died today.
    When politicians leave this earth,
    their bodies lie in state,
    While thousands note their passing
    and proclaim that they were great.
    Papers tell their whole life stories,
    from the time that they were young,
    But the passing of a soldier
    goes unnoticed and unsung.
    Is the greatest contribution
    to the welfare of our land
    A guy who breaks his promises
    and cons his fellow man?
    Or the ordinary fellow who,
    in times of war and strife,
    Goes off to serve his Country
    and offers up his life?
    A politician's stipend
    and the style in which he lives
    Are sometimes disproportionate
    to the service that he gives.
    While the ordinary soldier,
    who offered up his all,
    Is paid off with a medal
    and perhaps, a pension small.
    It's so easy to forget them
    for it was so long ago,
    That the old Bills of our Country
    went to battle, but we know
    It was not the politicians,
    with their compromise and ploys,
    Who won for us the freedom
    that our Country now enjoys.
    Should you find yourself in danger,
    with your enemies at hand,
    Would you want a politician
    with his ever-shifting stand?
    Or would you prefer a soldier,
    who has sworn to defend
    His home, his kin and Country
    and would fight until the end?
    He was just a common soldier
    and his ranks are growing thin,
    But his presence should remind
    us we may need his like again.
    For when countries are in conflict,
    then we find the soldier's part
    Is to clean up all the troubles
    that the politicians start.
    If we cannot do him honor
    while he's here to hear the praise,
    Then at least let's give him homage
    at the ending of his days.
    Perhaps just a simple headline
    in a paper that would say,
    "Our Country Is In Mourning, A Soldier Died Today."
    Author: A. Lawrence Vaincourt, first published in 1987 

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