Letter to editor
Freshman, McGlinn Hall
I went off to war, a young man with high ideals,
I went off to war, still knowing how the support of a nation feels.
I didn't really want to go, it wasn't my life plan.
But my country called me — they needed every man.
Now I took my responsibility seriously and so I went.
My time fighting war was some of the worst I've ever spent.
Yet you now claim, so many years later, that I must have loved it.
That I must have loved the violence, watching men get hit.
You, who have never truly known war, who ran when it was time to go.
How can you preach about things of which you really do not know?
We all want peace, to be able to sleep peacefully in bed,
But you wouldn't go — you sent another man in your stead.
And he was somebody's brother, somebody's son,
And you killed him, just as sure as you fired the gun.
But I fought on, what else could a soldier do?
And you know something? I did it all for you.
I did it for your way of life, so that you could live free.
I did it for all those children — all those families yet to be.
You say I did it for the rush, for all the sheer joy,
You claim I saw my rifle as some kind of toy.
You will never know the horrors then, of all the pain,
Blood pouring from men I knew — blood, pouring like rain.
Violence was not a game as we trudged through the forest day after day,
I wasn't in love with war when we were told to save a bullet for ourselves, and to pray.
I didn't think it was very fun when Sam took one in the gut,
We hid for three days and he died in a godforsaken hut.
It wasn't my idea of a joke when I became a prisoner of war,
The things I saw there shook me to my very core
And as I sat there in solitary, my heart turned somewhat hard
As I remembered the smell of smoke as others burned their card.
And now you look back and criticize never truly realizing what is true.
How I managed and how I suffered — I did it all for you.
I did it so that you could choose the religion you wanted to be,
I did it so that all the concentration camp prisoners could be free.
You know, a lot of us left so much at home — our jobs, our friends, our wives.
Yet so many of us will never return, so many gave you their lives.
They did it bravely, with all the courage that could be had,
And now you call them psychotic, now you claim them mad.
They gave all they had in your defense, to protect the life you know.
We gave all we had to secure you a victory, to defeat the foe.
And now you look back at our efforts with disdain, as if it were a sham,
When I finally got home, I sadly realized that no one gave a damn.
Society no longer recognized the hell that we had gone through
You never even considered that we'd done it all for you.
Many years have gone by and many wars have been fought,
And it was for you each and every victory that we sought.
It was for you that I left home, left my comfortable life.
It was for you that I hugged goodbye the kids and kissed my wife.
And now you want to disclaim my work and all I've done?
After all, you think I did it just for fun.
You say I worship weapons, that I adore their power.
If only you had lived a day of war, just one hour.
Then you would understand how necessary is the job I do.
How it is I did what I did all of you.
Yet you want to discard my memorials, to forget what has transpired.
And you would have all those people who fight for you now be fired.
All those people who study and train so that if ever needed they are ready
To go out and defend you with a will that is steady.
No one really likes to kill, and no one wants to fight.
But we do what we do so that you can sleep secure at night.
It's ironic you know; we fight so that you can say the things you say,
We fight so that you can speak your mind in your own way.
Protecting your way of life, insuring that you are safe
You will never know the pain you inflict, how your words chafe.
War was never easy, and I wish that you only knew
When I lost my life in war, I lost it just for you.
Freshman, McGlinn Hall
October 1, 1999
All Viewpoint Stories for Tuesday, October 5, 1999