A Tribute to a Common Soldier and Patriot on Memorial Day

May 24, 2017

A Tribute to a Common Soldier and Patriot on Memorial Day

Received by e-mail

Image result for The Ordinary Malaysian

I trust an ordinary solider  who puts his life on the line in defence of our country  and the Malaysian on main street who irks an honest living than a politician who promises and breaks them at a moment’s notice, and a Malaysian Prime Minister who steals RM2.6 billion from our Treasury and calls that stolen money a donation from a Saudi Prince. I despise idiots around him who try to defend him. What is worse is that that Prime Minister gets away with it. Honor cannot be bought with money; it is earned by sacrifice, sweat and toil. In the ordinary Malaysian soldier and patriot honor resides.– Din Merican

There are several incorrect versions of this poem circulating the web; below you’ll find the original text.

For years the poem has been broadcast nationally every Memorial Day on American radio. The American Legion has posted it throughout their many branches, the Australian Legion included it in their video tribute, Victory in the Pacific. In 2009, the Royal British Legion sought and gained permission to use Just a Common Soldier as part of its annual Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal campaign.  On July 4, 2008 it was carved into marble for an American Veteran’s Memorial at West Point.

 For a Soldier Died Today (with Tony Lo Bianco)
(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.


7 thoughts on “A Tribute to a Common Soldier and Patriot on Memorial Day

  1. Many Americans, especially younger generations, only have a general notion of who the men and women who died in service to our country, and those who were injured or captured in war, were. But for the veterans who fought beside them and the families who waved them goodbye, the causalities we honor on Memorial Day have names and faces. For many, the imprint they left behind is still remarkably fresh. Sometimes, the memories of war are still too fresh.

    For most of us Vietnam veterans, we hate Donald Trump because he dodged the draft when the country called, and yet he has the nerve to lie to us now how much he loves our country. For us who served in the Vietnam War we saw a lot of death and mutilation. For many of us the demons never leave, and there’s a burden there – you wonder why you were spared and why not your buddies.

    Coming back from Vietnam was very hard, not only because adapting to a life where you are not looking for the enemy as soon as you step out your front door is the ultimate paradigm shift, but also because of the stigma that the anti-war movement assigned to Vietnam veterans then. No parade to receive us. We were arranged to reach home in the middle of the night in order to avoid the anti-war protesters.

    Come Monday, May 29, is the Memorial Day to remember our fallen brothers and sisters in arms. Whether it’s good or bad, we have still got to remember them. I don’t think Trump will care. We don’t need his hypocrisy anyway. I never like beer, but come Monday I’ll wear my “Nam Knights” leather vest to drink a lot of beer with my fellow Vietnam veterans like we used to do in “Nam”.

    • I know what it was like in 1968. The Vietnam War disrupted my chance to go Berkeley in 1967. My education at GWU was under threat, but fortunately, I made it by graduating in 1970 topping my class and won an award as the best graduate student in my graduating class. It was actually touch and go as my classes were interrupted by protesting students in 1969.

      Colin Powell was a fellow student then (1970). He had just come back from duty in Vietnam. I had my highest regards for the men and women who served in Vietnam and I now know that you served in NAM. LaMoy, enjoy your beer with your friends. America is the only country which puts its citizens at risk to defend freedom and democracy in foreign lands. It is also known to support corrupt dictators when it was in its national interest to do so. –Din Merican

    • Thank you, Din. Maybe you’re the only one in this blog who understands how I really feel about it. I was a young lieutenant commanding a squad of 18 men. I promised my men I would bring them home safely. I didn’t realize I would send a few of them home in body bags. Every Memorial Day since I would get myself drunk, dead drunk. That’s not call “enjoy” drinking.
      I remember attending funerals at Arlington National Cemetery every other Sundays. I saw grieving families who lost their loved ones because LBJ and Congress chose to fight in Vietnam. –Din Merican

  2. DDM how touching and appropriate. The honor that are bestowed on politicians for double talk while the soldier sacrifice his life for freedom, liberty and nationhood.

  3. This poem should be translated into Bahasa Melayu and be inscribed on the front door of PERHEBAT or put on a plaque at Tugu Negara in honor of those that fell fighting in both world wars, the fight against the Commmunists and the Konfrontasi or Ganyang Malaysia.

  4. Quote:- “This poem should be translated into Bahasa Melayu and be inscribed on the front door of PERHEBAT or put on a plaque at Tugu Negara….”


    You can bet your last bullet that someone will make a police report about it.

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