MUSIC: CRUEL WAR
War is always tragic. WWII saw many young men leave home, never to
return. My family was lucky. Each of our soldiers returned, though the scars of war
affected their lives greatly.
This page is not only dedicated to the four soldiers who have influenced my life, but to
Veterans everywhere and from all wars. We owe much to these men and women. Many sacrificed
all, that we might live in a world where everyone is equal and justice and freedom
I salute each and every one of them.
WHAT IS A VETERAN?
A Veteran is someone who left hearth, home and loved ones
behind, often at a young age, to protect our freedom.
A Veteran is someone who died in battle, far from home and is
buried on foreign soil.
A Veteran is someone who crouched, terrified, in foxholes or
trenches at The Front.
A Veteran is someone who landed on the beaches of Dieppe,
Normandy and Juno and had little chance of surviving.
A Veteran is someone who was wounded, lost limbs, or was
A Veteran is someone who spent months or years aboard a ship,
far from home, to protect America from her enemies.
A Veteran is someone who was on a bomber over bullet-ridden
skies, either as a pilot or a member of the crew.
A Veteran is someone who saved the lives of the wounded,
whether a doctor, nurse, medic, or a member of his Platoon.
A Veteran is a member of the K9 Units who worked with our men
A Veteran is someone who spent years as a POW…many never
came home. Some may be still alive, knowing they never will come home…wondering about
mothers, wives and children.
A Veteran is someone who has been listed as MIA, but still
lives in a foreign land, forgotten by his country.
A Veteran is someone who crawled through jungles and tunnels
never knowing what lay around the next curve.
A Veteran is someone who is laid to rest as “Taps”
drifts across a cemetery and guns sound in a salute.
A Veteran is someone in a Veteran’s hospital or old-age
home who is not able to care for him/herself. Though they defended their country, they can
no longer protect themselves from the physical and mental abuse inflicted by the staff or
A Veteran is someone who once held his dying friend in his
arms while wondering why the world was such a cruel place.
A Veteran is a nurse who held dying men in her arms and shed
tears, even though she had never met him before in her life…she cried for the
injustice of it all…the horror of it all and the senselessness of it all.
A Veteran is someone who wakes, screaming, in the night, his
body drenched in sweat. He or she is remembering…dreaming of some atrocity witnessed
in the course of war.
A Veteran is someone who marches in a parade, medals displayed
proudly on his/her chest.
A Veteran is someone who marches in a parade with no medals
displayed on his/her chest.
A Veteran is someone who never marches in a parade, has no
medals, but knows that he did his/her duty and served their country proudly and to the
best of their ability.
A Veteran is someone who enabled us to have everything we hold
dear…equal opportunity, justice and liberty for all.
A Veteran is someone who we pay tribute to once a year. We
stand at attention in silence for one (two in Canada this year) minute and thank him/her
for what they have sacrificed. We should be ashamed.
A Veteran is someone who, when you see him/her on the street,
you should walk up to, shake his or her hand and say, “Thank you.”
Have you hugged a Veteran today?
Copyright © 1999 by Mary M. Alward
IN MEMORY OF......
MY DAD, PRIVATE FREDERICK WILLSON
JUST A COMMON SOLDIER
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, everyone.
And tho’ sometimes to his neighbors, his tales became a
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’ll not be mourned by many, just his children and his
For he lived an ordinary and quite uneventful life.
Held a job and raised a family, quietly going on his way,
And the world won’t note his passing, though a Soldier died today.
When politicians leave this earth, their bodies lie in state,
And thousands note their passing and proclaim that they were great.
Newspapers tell their 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 person who breaks 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?
It’s so easy to forget them, for it was long ago,
That the “Old Bills” of our country went to battle, but we know,
It was not the politicians, with their compromises and ploys,
Who won for us our freedom that our country now enjoys.
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 others often start.
If we cannot give him honor, while he’s here to hear the
Then at least let’s give him homage, at the ending of his days.
Perhaps a simple notice in the paper that would say,
“Our country is in mourning, ‘cause a Soldier died today.
~AUTHOR - ANONYMOUS~
IN TRIBUTE TO MY DEAR FRIEND, ELMER AKE,
FORMER SOLDIER AND POET.
SARGEANT ELMER AKE
CLICK HERE TO VISIT HIS SITE:
It was just another bunker on the road to Berlin
Nothing told us what we would find within.
The Germans were putting up a real good fight
And we were in this alley since mornings first light.
Mortar shells falling left and right
A machine gun firing up ahead just out of sight.
Trier was the name of this once proud city
Reduced to rubble and no longer pretty.
The fighting was house to house,and floor to floor
Both sides had casualties by the score.
But the citizens suffered even more
As they tried to hide from the battle's roar.
In England they were called air raid shelters
Here in Germany they were called bunkers.
When the bombers came they were a good place to hide
But what can you do when the enemy is just outside?
Most people prayed and stayed inside
The one's who ventured out quickly died.
This bunker was three stories high with steel doors
With machine guns firing from the upper floor.
These guns had clear lanes of fire
While we lay in the alley in the muck and mire.
So we waited for the defenders to surrender or retire
To blow up the place we had no desire.
We finally got help from a bazooka team
When they came crawling up to the scene.
A couple rounds through a steel cellar door
A couple more through a window on an upper floor
The building erupted with a flash and roar
And the squad rushed into the blood and gore.
I remember running through that door
And seeing the sight's I now deplore.
A baby blown from a young woman's womb
Her entrails scattered about the room.
Thirty people here met their doom
Their haven had became their tomb.
The squad rushed the foe on the upper floor
There they shot several more.
These were SS men who wouldn't quit
They wouldn't surrender or retreat a bit.
They fought on though mortally hit
You had to admire their stubborn grit.
The guys finally gave each one the Coup De Grace
In war that is the unwritting law.
For some times an enemy you thought dead
Would roll over and shoot you instead.
They would happily die if your blood were shed
Best to give each a bullet in the head.
In war a chance is one thing you don't give
To an enemy if you want to live.
These men should not have made a stand here
Not with these civilians so near.
They should have been evacuated to the rear
But death came too fast in the City of Trier.
Back to the cellar too that horrible place
Were thing's that a man shouldn't have to face
Bodies were scattered all over the floor
Every where you looked were bodies soaked in gore.
Now bullets kill soldiers by the score
But high explosives do a whole lot more.
This was a safe place for women children and the aged
It should have been left undefended.
After all these years I still relive this nightmare
Torn bodies and blood soaked hair.
Young eye's watching us through a deathly stare
An old mans headless body sitting on a chair.
None remember the names or faces
Of the thousands who died in these awful places.
The victors and the vanquished should share the blame
And the world should point fingers of shame
At governments that think war a game.
And remember the victims with no name.
When we left the bunker and went outside
We felt some thing in our souls had died.
We will never forget what we saw here
This memory isn't dimmed by passing years.
And once in a while your eye's fill with tears
When you remember the bunker in the City of Trier.
Copyright © 2000 - Elmer Ake
Finally Father I am free
Going home to my land across the sea.
The years have passed so slowly by
Since the day I came here to die
Is there no one alive that recalls that I
Was missing in action, and had to cry.
Fifty four years ago I met my fate
Nineteen years old and full of hate.
Hate for the ones who brought me here
Far from the ones that I hold dear
I have forsaken hope, no cause to cheer
In my unmarked grave year after year.
Seventy five thousand buddies are MIA’s
Whether on land or beneath the waves.
No one knows where you sleep.
Over your grave no loved ones weep.
Only waves wash over the ships sunk deep.
And memories are all we have to keep.
Long years ago this Nation’s youth
Joined the cause to preserve the truth.
We heard the cries of our fellowman
When our leaders called we said we can
With our arms into battle we ran
And gave our lives for our beloved land.
We saw our cause and beheld our duty
Gave our lives for honor not for booty.
America is called the Land of the Brave
On Veteran’s Day the flag we died to save
Flies at half-mast over honored graves.
But I am finally going home at last
Just a memory from the long ago past.
After all these years I was finally found
I’m going home from this cursed ground
And on Veteran’s Day when Taps sound
Another MIA will be homeward bound.
Copyright © 2000 - Elmer Ake
MY THANKS TO MY FRIEND, JACKIE,
FOR THIS BEAUTIFUL POEM.
The Final Inspection
The soldier stood and faced his God
Which must always come to pass
He hoped his shoes were shining
Just as brightly as his brass.
"Step forward now, you soldier,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My Church have you been true?"
The soldier squared his shoulders and Said, "No, Lord,
I guess I ain't,
Because those of us who carry guns
Can't always be a saint.
I've had to work most Sundays
And at times my talk was tough,
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.
But, I never took a penny
That wasn't mine to keep...
Though I worked a lot of overtime when
The bills got just too steep,
And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear,
And sometimes, God forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.
I know I don't deserve a place
Among the people here,
They never wanted me around
Except to calm their fears.
If you've a place for me here, Lord,
It needn't be so grand,
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't, I'll understand."
There was a silence all around the throne Where the
saints had often
As the Soldier waited quietly,
for the judgment of his God,
"Step forward now, you soldier,
You've borne your burdens well,
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in Hell."
copyright © 2000 by Jackie Pierce
INFORMATION ABOUT CANADIAN VETERANS
Many thanks to Master Sergeant George Crofton
for these very unique graphics of my Dad and Uncles.