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Just a Common Soldier

May 20, 2010

Wanted to share this with everyone. This poem was first published in 1987 in Larry Vaincourt’s newspaper column. There are several incorrect versions of this poem circulating the web. Please visit http://vaincourt.homestead.com/Common_Soldier.html to see more of Larry Vaincourt’s Ryhmes & Reflections.

JUST A COMMON SOLDIER
(A Soldier Died Today)
by A. Lawrence Vaincourt

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, though 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, for a soldier died today.

© 1987 A. Lawrence Vaincourt


Operation Stores & Stripes

May 13, 2010

Sears Hometown Stores – in partnership with Maytag Brand is calling all Military Veterans to participate in the first ever opportunity to win a Sears Hometown Store!

Visit the link below for details on the contest, rules and regulations, online application and more.

http://www.searshometownstores.com/veteran/


Fishing Tournament

March 24, 2010

Hey Purple Heart Recipients! We’re ready for the Fishing Tournament, are you!?

Click Here for registration.


IRAQ WAR HERO AND AN ELITE ATHLETE JERROD FIELDS TO SPEAK IN BRANSON, MO

March 17, 2010

On March 26, 2010 at 7 p.m. at the Lodge of the Ozarks in Branson, MO a decorated Iraq War veteran Jerrod Fields, who lost his leg in a heroic battle and became a champion athlete training for 2012 Paralympic Games will share his remarkable story.

Fields, 27, grew up in a Chicago neighborhood “flooded with gangs and drugs”. His mother died of lung cancer when he was 5. His father was shot and killed when he was 11.

Jerrod joined the Gansta Disciples but dreamed of education and sports and attended Tennessee State University for two years. He then enlisted in the Army and was deployed to Iraq in January 2005. A month later on reconnaissance mission in Baghdad, his left ankle and foot were mutilated by a roadside bomb. After managing to drive his four fellow soldiers back to base (this act of valor earned him a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart), Fields faced a life-changing choice in a hospital in Germany: have surgery and be discharged, or amputate and stay a soldier.

He chose amputation, and after receiving a C-shaped prosthesis, worked himself quickly into combat shape and prepared for redeployment into Iraq in 2007. Two days before redeployment Jerrod found out that he was accepted into World Class Athlete Program. Having never had run track before, Jerrod started training for Paralympics and within a year, was running 100 meters in 12 seconds flat.

“We don’t know what’s in us until we get the opportunity that pulls it out of us,” says Jerrod Fields. He credits his unwavering faith in God for pulling him through and making him victorious over challenges.

His appearance in Branson is sponsored by World Missions Alliance of Branson West, MO and is a part of an inspirational event VICTORIOUS: WMA Conference taking place March 24-27, 2010 at the Lodge of the Ozarks in Branson, MO. Other speakers include bestselling author Mark Batterson, former Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Tamrat Layne and American Idol 2010 contestant Dave Pittman from Mountain Home, AR.

The event is open to the public. For more information call: 417-231-4131


History of the Flag

March 5, 2010

The United States Flag is the third oldest of the National Standards of the world; older than the Union Jack of Britain or the Tricolor of France.

The flag was first authorized by Congress June 14, 1777. This date is now observed as Flag Day throughout America.

The flag was first flown from Fort Stanwix, on the site of the present city of Rome, New York, on August 3, 1777. It was first under fire for three days later in the Battle of Oriskany, August 6, 1777.

It was first decreed that there should be a star and a stripe for each state, making thirteen of both; for the states at the time had just been erected from the original thirteen colonies.

The colors of the Flag may be thus explained: The red is for valor, zeal and fervency; the white for hope purity, cleanliness of life, and rectitude of conduct; the blue, the color of heaven, for reverence to God, loyalty, sincerity, justice and truth.

The star (an ancient symbol of India, Persia and Egypt) symbolized dominion and sovereignty, as well as lofty aspirations. The constellation of the stars within the union, one star for each state, is emblematic of our Federal Constitution, which reserves to the States their individual sovereignty except as to rights delegated by them to the Federal Government.

The symbolism of the Flag was thus interpreted by Washington: “We take the stars from Heaven, the red from our mother country, separating it by white stripes, thus showing that we have separated from her, and the white stripes shall go down to posterity representing Liberty.”

In 1791, Vermont, and in 1792, Kentucky were admitted to the Union and the number of stars and stripes was raised to fifteen in correspondence. As other states came into the Union it became evident there would be too many stripes. So in 1818 Congress enacted that the number of stripes be reduced and restricted henceforth to thirteen representing the thirteen original states; while a star should be added for each succeeding state. That law is the law of today.

The name “Old Glory” was given to our National Flag August 10, 1831, by Captain William Driver of the brig Charles Doggett.

The Flag was first carried in battle at the Brandywine, September 11, 1777. It first flew over foreign territory January 28, 1778, at Nassau, Bahama Islands; Fort Nassau having been captured by the American in the course of the war for independence. The first foreign salute to the flag was rendered by the french admiral LaMotte Piquet, off Quiberon Bay, February 13, 1778.

The United States Flag is unique in the deep and noble significance of its message to the entire world, a message of national independence, of individual liberty, of idealism, of patriotism.

It symbolizes national independence and popular sovereignty. It is not the Flag of a reigning family or royal house, but of 205 million free people welded into a Nation, one and inseparable, united not only by community of interest, but by vital unity of sentiment and purpose; a Nation distinguished for the clear individual conception of its citizens alike of their duties and their privileges, their obligations and their rights.

It incarnates for all mankind the spirit of Liberty and the glorious ideal of human Freedom; not the freedom of unrestraint or the liberty of license, but an unique ideal of equal opportunity for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, safeguarded by the stern and lofty principles of duty, of righteousness and of justice, and attainable by obedience to self-imposed laws.

Floating from lofty pinnacle of American Idealism, it is a beacon of enduring hope, like the famous Bartholdi Statue of Liberty enlightening the World to the oppressed of all lands. It floats over a wondrous assemblage of people from every racial stock of the earth whose united hearts constitute an indivisible and invincible force for the defense and succor of the downtrodden.

It embodies the essence of patriotism. Its spirit is the spirit of the American nation. Its history is the history of the American people. Emblazoned upon its folds in letters of living light are the names and fame of our heroic dead, the Fathers of the Republic who devoted upon its altars their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. Twice told tales of National honor and glory cluster thickly about it. Ever victorious, it has emerged triumphant from eight great National conflicts. It flew at Saratog, at Yorktown, at Palo Alto, at Gettysburg, at Minala bay, at Chateau-Thierry, at Iwo Jima. It bears witness to the immense expansion of our national boundaries, the development of our natural resources, and the splendid structure of our civilization. It prophesies the triumph of popular government, of civic and religious liberty and of national righteousness throughout the world.

The flag first rose over thirteen states along the Atlantic seaboard, with a population of some three million people. Today it flies over fifty states, extending across the continent, and over great islands of the two oceans; and two hundred and five million owe it allegiance. It has been brought to this proud position by love and sacrifice. Citizens have advanced it and heroes have died for it. It is the sign made visible of the strong spirit that has brought liberty and prosperity to the people of America. It is the flag of all us alike. Let us accord it honor and loyalty.

Veterans Flag Depot – http://www.veteransflagdepot.com/nylon.html

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sholden/3557554275/ / CC BY-SA 2.0


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