Just a common soldier


lest we forget

“For when countries are in conflict, then we find the soldier’s part
Is to clean up all the troubles that the politicians start.”

I have always thought that Remembrance Day was important not to glorify war but to honour the ordinary men, women and children who have died in wars. This poem, written in the 1980’s by a Canadian veteran of World War Two could speak to many issues veterans continue to face. If you’re interested in finding out a little more about the author I’ve included a link below.

Just a Common Soldier
(A Soldier Died Today)
By A. Lawrence Vaincourt
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.


War monument


This entry was posted in History, Life, Political expression, Puzzles and Contradictions, Thoughts, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to Just a common soldier

  1. The sad thing is people are incited by political leaders to war.
    Then years later the people we were fighting are our training pertrers.
    Comercial interests and selfishness are the true cause of war.
    Fear and greed lead to hate, can we change this vicious circle?
    Can kindness, carding and sharing be the way?
    The meak shall inherited the earth, if nobody minds, it is a tricky one.😰

  2. A beautiful post full of respect for those who served and serve.

  3. Sheryl says:

    The poem is beautifully written and conveys so many important sentiments. It’s the perfect post for Remembrance/Veterans Day.

  4. gpcox says:

    A very high-impact post – pulls at my heart strings that’s for certain! Magnificent job!
    [I hope you don’t think that I glorify war or romanticize it like Hollywood likes to do?]

    • Thank you! GP your posts always seem to be from the soldiers perspective, even when you’re describing big events and the leaders involved. I enjoy the straightforward way in which you write even when you get a little American and patriotic on us you do it so well! Your blog is a ‘not to miss!’ for me.

  5. Shannon McManus says:

    My grandfather was on the front lines all through WW1 and came out of it an anti-war pacifist, like thousands of others; something never mentioned in the media. Shannon.

    Sent from my iPhone


    • True – glorification of war seems to be the main message these days. My grandfather was there too and like so many others came back wondering what the slaughter had been about.

  6. quilt32 says:

    A very nice poem, very true and one I had not read before.

  7. Sue Slaght says:

    Wonderfully said. Thank you for sharing the common soldier which I had never read before.

  8. margaret21 says:

    Nice poem. And I love Gallivanta’s words too.. Thank you for a thought-provoking post.

  9. I think it’s quite lovely. Good for you.


  10. joannesisco says:

    Very beautifully said! … and unfortunately, how very true.

  11. Gallivanta says:

    “Never a truer word…” and all that. I am so pleased to meet this poem. I have just been reading an editorial on the Great War, and the point is made that we don’t ‘remember’ the Great War anymore because we weren’t there. None of us. Instead, the editorial says, we ‘discover’ it. The same will soon be the case for WW2. The Ode of Remembrance by Laurence Binyon meant something entirely different to the people who first read it and said it. They did remember, vividly.

    • Yes, I’ve always remembered my grandfather talking about the slaughter around him in WW1 and that made it ‘real’ for me – such an interesting point you make. Today there seems to be an awful lot of glorification of the war itself instead of the slaughter of so many.

  12. Lavinia Ross says:

    That is a great poem, and I love the line “clean up all the troubles the politicians start”. How true!

  13. Mike says:

    Very nice. I have a deep appreciation of all vets, but those who fought in WW ll saved the world. And as a veteran myself, tomorrow I get a free lunch 😉

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