Veteran's poem, 'A Soldier,' a reminder of military members' sacrifices

info@islandpacket.comMay 27, 2012 

Thanks to Joe McManus of Bluffton for sharing a poem for Memorial Day written by his father.

Joe said his father was in the U.S. Army for 23 years, serving two tours in Vietnam. Charles R. "Charlie" McManus, 81, of the Carolina House in Bluffton served in the 18th Airborne Corps, the 82nd Airborne Division and the 5th Special Forces Group before retiring as a chief warrant officer 2.

Following the service, Charlie McManus, a Savannah native and graduate of Benedictine Military School, earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in history.

He taught history and Spanish for nine years at Windsor Forest High School in Savannah.

Joe, who works at Station One on Hilton Head Island, also served in the 82nd Airborne Division.

He said his father had a stroke about 20 years ago and wrote his poem, "A Soldier," while studying at Armstrong State University in Savannah.

War is wrong, not morally right;

A fact he knows within his heart.

Then who will take up freedom's fight?

Willingly he leaves to do his part.

Called upon to leave his land

Enter into a world of hate.

He to take up freedom's stand,

Knowing not his own fate.

Within he is faced with strife;

His life becomes a constant strain.

He also values all human life,

But a soldier he will remain.

The icy chill and stifling heat,

Before the coming of the fight.

Conquering fear with each heartbeat,

Turning darkness into light.

He lies in a protective hole

Like a child in Mother's womb.

Bearing to God mind and soul

Is this the hour of his doom?

The battle over, he searches for

Unanswered questions to explain

The reasons for fighting this war,

But a soldier he will remain.

His soul in mortal torment

Within emotions felt so deep;

Crying out in mournful lament

For the fallen in final sleep.

In this land now so distressed

People living in constant fear;

Fighting for all oppressed

The questions answered all too clear.

He then bears with humiliation

This new American refrain;

Another anti-war demonstration

But a soldier he will remain.

When war is over some remain

They now guided by heaven's light.

But they departed not in vain

They took up their country's fight.

At home he will stand with pride

The look of contempt in his eyes

The spirit of the fallen by his side

He went to fight no compromise.

When twilight comes death is near

And they play the final scene

He will go with conscience clear

Because a soldier he will remain.

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