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Letter to the editor for May 27, 2017

Editor’s note: The following poem was adapted in March 2017 by Frank Farmer from “Just A Simple Soldier,” author unknown. The original submission was from Feb. 9-15, 2017, by Shirley Bean of Pottsboro, Texas, in the Johnson County Capital-Democrat, Tishomingo, Okla. 

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 deed 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 buddies listened, for they knew whereof he spoke.

But we’ll hear his tales no longer, ol’ Bob passed away,

and the world’s a littler poorer, for a veteran died today.

He won’t be mourned by many, but his children and his wife.

For he lived an ordinary very quiet sort of life.

He held a job and raised a family, quietly going on his way,

and the world won’t not his passing, ‘tho a veteran died today.

When politicians leave this earth, their bodies lie in state,

while thousands note their passing and proclaim that they were great.

Paper tell their life stories, from the time that they were young,

but the passing of a veteran goes unnoticed and unsung.

Is the greatest contribution to the welfare of our land,

some jerk who breaks his promise, 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?

The politician’s stipend and the style in which he lives,

are sometimes disproportionate to the service he gives.

While the ordinary veteran who offer up his all,

is paid off with a medal and perhaps a pension small.

It’s easy to forget them, for it is so long ago,

That our Bobs and Jims and Johnnys 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 really want some copout with his every waffling stand?

Or would you want a veteran, who has sworn to defend

his home, his kin and country, and would fight until the end?

He was just a common veteran and his ranks are growing thin,

but his presence should remind us we may need his like again.

For when countries are in conflict, the we find the veteran 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 a simple headline in the paper that might say:

“Our country is in mourning for a veteran died today.”

Frank Farmer 

Winchester