The following was sent to me by Arthur (Joe) Tollen, who served in the Navy Air Corps during the Korean War and passed away recently. He was a good man and a good friend. We will miss him.
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 once fought
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 buddies listened quietly
For they knew where of he spoke.
But we'll hear his tales no longer,
For ol' Joe has passed away,
And the world's a little poorer
For a Veteran died today.
He won't be mourned by many
Just his children and his wife,
For he lived an ordinary,
Very quiet sort of life.
He held a job and raised a family
Going quietly on his way,
And the world won't note his passing
'Tho a Veteran 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 of their life stories
From the time that they were young,
But the passing of a Veteran
Goes unnoticed, and unsung.
Is the greatest contribution
To the welfare of our land,
Some jerk who breaks his promise
And cons his fellow man?
Or the ordinary fellow
Who in time of war and strife,
Goes off to serve his country
And offers up his life?
The politician's stipend
And the style in which he lives,
Are often disproportionate
To the service that he gives.
While the ordinary Veteran
Who offers up his all,
Is paid off with a medal
And perhaps a pension, small.
It is 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 really want some cop-out
With his ever-waffling stand?
Or would you want a Veteran
His home, his country, his kin,
Just a common Veteran
Who would fight until the end?
He was just a common Veteran
And his ranks are growing thin,
But his presence should remind us
We may need his likes again.
For when countries are in conflict
We find the Veteran'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 the paper that might say:
"OUR COUNTRY IS IN MOURNING
A VETERAN DIED TODAY."
Beau Weisman, Editor