“A Soldier Died Today”

Remembrance Day is November 11 in Canada,  so here is a very interesting and thought provoking poem which was sent to me. I am intentionally posting this early so those of you who wish to copy it, link to it, or otherwise “spread the word”, can do so before the day passes and we start to get inundated with Christmas advertising!

JUST A COMMON SOLDIER

(A Soldier Died Today)

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.

© 1987 A. Lawrence Vaincourt

33 thoughts on ““A Soldier Died Today”

  1. Powerful! I wrote an article on my website for the occasion i.e. celebrating Remembrance Day- https://authorjoannereed.net/celebrating-remembrance-day-11-november/. Feel free to check it out. Another article I wrote that you may like to check out is ‘Information and Disinformation – How carrots helped win world War II – https://authorjoannereed.net/information-and-disinformation-how-carrots-helped-win-world-war-ii/

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The first time I heard of this poem and read it was in a book that was sent to me at Christmas of 1991 by the Mother of someone who was very dear to me. The book is “Rhymes and Reflections” by A. Lawrence Vaincourt. I suppose that the growing popularity of this poem inspired his later book “Just A Common Soldier (A Soldier Died Today) and Other Poems” that was published in 2004 and gifted to me by my children as the other book by then was well worn. Vaincourt was born in New York but grew up in Canada. A veteran himself, he had written the poem for a community newspaper column in 1987 in honor of Remembrance Day. I know that the poem is on a marble monument at West Point and I think it appears somewhere in Canada too. Several years ago I came across a spoken-word song of the poem and it was beautiful, but I no longer recall the artist. Connie Francis also had featured the poem as a spoken-word song on an album about 5-6 years ago. Thank-you for sharing this deeply touching poem with your followers.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Will do Joanne and, given that you decided to Follow a “dog-driven” Blog, I trust that you will check out “Who Said I was up for Adoption?” (links to my books are in right side column – may have to scroll to find them). 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Colin,

      I would like to concur with Joanne Reed about this poem, which has rendered me quite emotional as it also applies to my late father, as I read the following two stanzas:

      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.

      You can see two photos of my late father in his uniform in my post written about my late mother who just passed away recently at https://soundeagle.wordpress.com/2019/08/31/khai-khim-for-always-and-beyond-goodbye/

      Thank you for publishing this post about the poem on Remembrance Day.

      Liked by 2 people

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