Today, we received an “unusual request” to publish a poem from one of our Army Veteran members. Here’s what he says…
I finally talked to my son at length about his friend who committed suicide. I didn’t know this but my son talked to him at length about 12 hours before he took his own life. My son is having difficulty reconciling this.
He was only 26 years old and had a young daughter. He hung himself. He didn’t convey any problems when my son talked to him. He was one of my son’s best friends and his ‘battle buddy’ in Afghanistan. It’s difficult for me to think that this young kid who watched my son’s back in a combat zone is now gone.
It seems as though he was having difficulty with the V.A. dealing with PTSD and some medical issues from his combat time serving in a combat unit with the 101st Airborne in Afghanistan.
Needless to say it was an emotional and gut wrenching conversation. We both broke down. I got to meet my son’s friend when they returned from Afghanistan and at that time he was only 20. Twenty years old and already a combat Veteran.
The family is going to have him cremated and due to COVID restrictions they will only have a small ceremony, limited to immediate family.
Some time ago, a friend sent me a poem, and I don’t know if this is something that you can do, but if you could post it, it would be nice.
A go fund me page has been set up to cover funeral expenses. Anyone interested in helping should contact NCFM privately. I don’t want to put his name out there… it’s tough enough as is.
NOTE: if you, the reader, wants to help with the expenses please send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org. In the subject line please type “Young Veteran.” We will then email to you a link to the fundraising site. Completed suicides in the United States are 80% males. One of the highest rates of completed male suicide are from men going through legal separation. Veterans are 1.5 times more likely to commit suicide than non-military adults.
This poem is being posted at the request of an NCFM member and is dedicated to a young combat veteran, who sadly, took his own life recently. It is a reminder of the sacrifices of so many, and thus, we should Never Forget.
Never Forget (author unknown)
The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.
The sound wasn’t loud, and it wasn’t too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn’t quite know, Then the
sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
‘What are you doing?’ I asked without fear,
‘Come in this moment, it’s freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!’
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts.
To the window that danced with a warm fire’s light
Then he sighed, and he said ‘It’s really all right,
I’m out here by choice. I’m here every night.’
‘It’s my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I’m proud to stand here like my fathers before me’.
‘My Gramps died at ‘Pearl on a day in December,’
Then he sighed, ‘That’s a Christmas, Gram always remembers.’
‘My dad stood his watch in the jungles of Nam,
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.’
‘I’ve not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he’s sure got her smile’.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue… an American flag.
‘I can live through the cold and being alone,
Away from my family, my house, and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat’.
‘I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother.
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.’
‘So go back inside,’ he said, ‘harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting, and I’ll be all right.’
‘But isn’t there something I can do, at the least,
‘Give you money,’ I asked, ‘or prepare you a feast?’
‘It seems all too little for all that you’ve done,
For being away from your wife and your son.’
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
‘Just tell us you love us, and never forget’.
‘To fight for our rights back at home while we’re gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.’
Optional: The family has set up a GoFundMe page to cover funeral expenses and if anyone is interested in donating, please contact NCFM in private and we will direct you to the appropriate location. Send your request to email@example.com