Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Remembering Our Veterans

Today is Veterans Day here in the United States, and I can think of no better way to honor the men and women who have served our country throughout the years than to share with you a wonderful poem. This poem was written by my very dear friend, Msgr. Charles R. Fink, who is now a catholic priest and in charge of the spiritual formation of the young men entering the priesthood in our diocese. Back in his early twenties, Msgr. Fink served our country as an infantry soldier during the Vietnam War. He was injured during an ambush, but continued to serve after recovering. He is a hero to me, as are all the men and women who have served our country and put themselves in harm's way to keep us safe. This poem is a beautiful expression of the bond and commitment these soldiers have for one another. I hope you will share it with those you love today as you remember our service men and women. Please be sure if you do copy the poem, that you credit the author, Msgr. Charles R. Fink, this is not my own writing, but his, and I have received his permission to use his work here.

Bury Me with Soldiers

I’ve played a lot of roles in life;
I’ve met a lot of men;
I’ve done some things I’d like to think
I wouldn’t do again.
And though I’m young, I’m old enough
To know someday I’ll die,
And think about what lies beyond,
Beside whom I would lie.

Perhaps it doesn’t matter much;
Still, if I had my choice,
I’d want a grave ‘mongst soldiers when
At last death quells my voice.
I’m sick of the hypocrisy
Of lectures by the wise.
I’ll take the man, with all his flaws,
Who goes, though scared, and dies.

The troops I knew were commonplace:
They didn’t want the war;
They fought because their fathers and
Their fathers had before.
They cursed and killed and wept—God knows
They’re easy to deride—
But bury me with men like these;
They faced the guns and died.

It’s funny, when you think of it,
The way we got along.
We’d come from different worlds
To live in one no one belongs.
I didn’t even like them all;
I’m sure they’d all agree.
Yet I would give my life for them,
I hope; some did for me.

So bury me with soldiers, please,
Though much maligned they be.
Yes, bury me with soldiers, for
I miss their company.
We’ll not soon see their like again;
We’ve had our fill of war.
But bury me with men like them
Till someone else does more.

--Charles R. Fink (Vietnam 3/69-3/70, 199th LIB)


Anonymous said...

Even though I'm not fond of poetry,I realize that this was beautiful written and came from the heart.

Thanks to all our servicepeople, present and past for keeping us safe.

Thanks you Maureen for a gentle reminder also.

Leslie said...

Thanks for thinking of me yet again! I've changed the tradition a bit, but I hope that I accepted the award in the spirit intended. And thanks for the catch. My e-mail is now on my profile!

Junebug said...

What a fantastic poem! Thanks for sharing it.

Anonymous said...

Maureen, This poem could easily become a classic. Your friend has a great talent. Thank you for sharing it with us and reminding us of the comradery and bravery of our soldiers... the sacrifice they make for each other and for all of us.