I Am a Soldier

I Am a Soldier

By Neal T. Lesh

I am a soldier born to follow or lead.
To serve my country in time of its need;
To protect our great nation with my heart and my soul
To preserve our new freedoms was one of my goals.

I joined in the struggle [a new nation to forge]
And fought with my brethren to run off King George
Severely outnumbered, Red Coats everywhere,
To continue the fighting was so hard to bear.

Finally it was over; fighting came to a close
From the ashes of tyranny a new nation arose
I returned to my family no longer a boy
But a man and a soldier with a heart full of joy.

I am a soldier, keeping rifle at hand
In defense of our people as we open new land
I have sworn to protect with all of my might
A republic of freedom based on that which is right.

I am a soldier who is sickened at heart
At a nation in danger of breaking apart
More than just vanity has brought us this far;
Fighting brother on brother in a great civil war

There will never be peace in the land of the free
If we fail as a nation in the wisdom to see
That our constitution provides for each man's equal due
Not just for the many at the expense of a few.

I am a soldier, who has fought the Great War,
In the trenches of France with a passion to score
In the name of what's holy in the name of what's right
Against enemies of liberty, I carried my fight.

From the beaches of Normandy to Iwo Jima’s sand,
Soldiers died by the thousands in some far distant land
They had shared noble reasons for the lives that they gave—
For the land of the free and the home of the brave.

I am a soldier, not a demon, as some people believe
For it's not in my nature to kill and cause grief
I would rather take up a far greater cause,
Turning sword into plowshare without even pause.

It's a much better world when we sleep and devise
All those wonderful musings where our hopes come alive
I am a soldier with conscience and I wish that I knew
How to use all my power to make dreams come true.

I am a soldier standing guard through the night
Supported by others who join in the fight
To do what it takes we work as a team
So others can share in America's dream.

There are those in this world full of anger and hate
Who'd tear down our country; they now stand at our gate.
That so many people have died at their hand
Should send out a signal throughout our great land.

I will take up this battle for the families who cried
For  the loss of their loved ones who needlessly died.
Yes, I am a soldier and I’d die if need be,
For your right to be happy and your right to be free.

Dedicated to all who lost their lives as defenders of our country and our way of life in the attack on the Pentagon, Washington, DC. September 11, 2001

Tonight I had an opportunity to go through the Arlington Website and was very pleased to know that there was a portion dedicated to poetry.  I am a 63 year old retired US Army Chief Warrant Officer, having spent twenty years in the military from 1957 to 1977.

In 1981 I developed prostate cancer, which was subsequently treated in 1983 with I-125 radioactive Iodine implants.  Following the surgery and for the next nineteen years, I developed severe chronic pain from damage caused by excessive radiation.  Last October 2001, I learned that my cancer has returned.  Currently, there is no cure for recurrent prostate cancer, only treatment to slow down the growth process.  My most recent bone scans have showed a progression into my pelvic bone in two separate areas.  I am treated with a transdermal patch that uses a strong base narcotic released over a period of three days.  I also take additional pain medication for breakthrough pain that occurs only too often.

But this is not the reason I am writing you.  Over time, I have been under the care of the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Wilkes-Barre, PA.  My home is twenty-five miles from the hospital and I have been a patient there quite often.  While on an extended stay at the hospital I picked up a book called “Veterans Voices”, a publication sponsored by the Veterans Administration for veterans who would like to have their poetry or stories published.  Since I had time on my hand, I decided I would try my hand at writing poetry.  Many of my submissions were subsequently published in “Veterans Voices”.  One of those, which happens to be a favorite of mine, was selected by the Wilkes-Barre VAMC staff to be submitted to the VA as part of a program to recognize Veterans who have participated in Arts & Crafts. Although it did not win in the national competition, it remains a favorite among the veterans and friends who have viewed my poetry.

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