I know this is long. It took on a life of its own as I wrote it. I'm not even sure what inspiration started this. I hope you like it.
He was only eighteen when he first received the call.
Accepting was a given—He was young, and free, and tall.
Hugging his mom, And shaking hands with his dad,
He packed the things he’d chosen, In an old suitcase that he had.
Early morning found him boarding A red bus down on main.
A glance over his shoulder, For one last look was in vain.
They rattled down the highway For three days in a row,
And when they rolled into the camp, He was feelin’ mighty low.
The bus deposited its burden On the pavement flat and black,
And he stood broiling in the sun, Sufferin’ from its attack.
It didn’t take them long To have them sorted, shaved, and shorn.
He was poked, prodded, and looked at More than since he had been born.
It takes a good hard poundin’ To make a bar of steel,
And that’s how they were treated—As if they didn’t feel.
Up in the early hours of morn,And to bed when it was dark.
He soon came to realize This wasn’t Sunday in the park.
Soon, eight hard weeks had passed, And he became quite able.
He was hardenin’ his body, And takin’ on the label.
When basic was finally over, They all looked like chiseled rock.
Walkin’ downtown on leave, Not a single man dared mock.
He never hesitated, When learnin’ of his first post.
He was as good as anyone, And better far than most.
The zone where he was headed, Was hot—a full blown war,
And they landed in a hail of lead, And to a tank’s dull roar.
It wasn’t long ‘til he’d proved himself In the rigors of full battle.
He’d seen his share of blood and gore, And heard a friend’s death rattle.
Step by step, promotions came, Along with scars and pain,
Until his Sergeant stripes found him Standin’ alone out in the rain.
They were waiting on new orders, To send them in to the fray.
Not a one of them were sure, If they would live throughout the day.
When the word finally came, They took their weapons and their gear,
And headed up the hill—They smelled of oil, smoke, and fear.
The bullets and the bombs Soon began to fly.
It sounded like a hive of bees Takin’ to the sky.
In danger every minute, They fought like men possessed.
They knew that they could lose their lives, Being put to the test.
Cut off from their countrymen, Alone and in dire need,
They looked at him with eyes of fear, And silently did plead.
They fought for what seemed hours, And the battle grew no less.
Ammo started runnin’ low, And they were sorely pressed.
There was not a one of them Who did not have some hurt,
And he tried to think of what to do, While laying in the dirt.
Then in the light of star-shells, As they burst up overhead,
He saw a path, a way through, Though it too he did dread.
There was a gully, a ditch, or less, A way that they could crawl,
If only one remained behind To guard them from the brawl.
He didn’t call for volunteers, Just told them what to do,
Then settled in to guard their backs, With hope nowhere in view.
The men made their way to safety, While he laid down cover fire,
And when it was his turn to flee, He dove into the mire.
Alone and friendless, He huddled in the dark.
Of his hopes for his survival, There only seemed a spark.
The bullets now were seeking For him there in the night,
The enemy advancing Towards him in his plight.
A hot sting, and his arm Was pierced through and through
Another burned his leg, As his foe came into view.
Using his own blood, His face he tried to hide,
Then laid as still as death itself, As still as if he’d died.
The searchers thought they all had fled And pursued them in the night.
He laid there ‘til they were gone, And the cold began to bite.
He bandaged his wounds The best he could all on his own,
Then began to inch his way To where the others now had flown.
As for his little band of men, They’d made it to safe haven.
Fleeing back to friendly arms, Where the battle flags were wavin’.
They called for volunteers To go and seek him out,
But the officers thought that he was dead, Like so many in the bout.
They praised him, as they pleaded, For saving all their lives,
While thanking God that they’d return, To their children and their wives.
Then, as the sun was rising On the dawn of the new day,
There came a shout of joy, A shout of ‘Hip Hooray!’
From over the horizon, He came with a band of men.
They had found him while a’crawlin’ From that viper’s den.
He was hailed as a hero, Though he didn’t see it that way.
He was just a soldier fighting, Doing his duty day to day.