Uncle Sam beckoned and they answered the call
Scared deep inside as they left,
Put uniforms on - said goodbye to their youth
As their loved ones mourned at the theft.
We can’t imagine what hell they went through
Depending on where they were sent,
Unbearable heat or bone-chilling cold
And, if lucky, their cover - a tent.
Never knowing when the enemy would strike
Or if by morning, they’d still be alive,
The only thing that kept spirits up
Was waiting for mail to arrive.
The sound of the guns ear-shattering blasts
Blend with the beat of their hearts,
Their orders say “go” and that’s what they do
They knew it was rough from the start.
They and their buddies - an unbroken team
Always covering each other’s back,
Wondering if death lay over the hill
As they rally to abort the attack.
Their nightmares are filled with things they have seen
Buddies killed or broken apart,
The terrible scenes their eyes have beheld
From their minds will never depart.
Then, letters unfinished, mementos, pictures
Is the legacy they left behind,
Imagine the grief as families sorted their things
And found a last letter unsigned.
These that we honor did not make it home
Many crying for Mom as they died,
Mostly young men their first time away
As they served their country with pride.
This isn’t pretty, but neither is war
We’ll give thanks to those brave ones who stayed,
Remember them now and each day of the year
For a debt that can’t be repaid.