Written by Brian Walrath in 2015 as a tribute to my 50th Company classmates
Click here for audio: https://vimeo.com/416782906
The youngster sat by the old man’s side, for a time not a word was said.
Then he peered up at the weathered face and pondered the graying head.
“When you were in the Army, Gramps, was it during World War Two?”
“I’m not that old,” laughed Grandpa, “Though it might seem so to you.”
The memories came rushing back from some hidden reservoir,
Of a nation torn asunder by a far off foreign war.
“Still, it seems so very long ago when I wore my suit of green,
And I knew a company of men the likes I’d never seen.
“Duty in the military wasn’t what most fellows chose.
To be numbered in the ranks was rarer than you might suppose.
The ones who served the homeland were looked down upon with scorn.
More respect was shown to Woodstock than to those in uniform.
“No cheering crowds would send them off with waving flags and bands.
The crowds were chanting protests and flags burned across the land.
No long and fervent lines formed up outside recruiting stations.
T’was not the age that pundits dubbed the greatest generation.
“But what to call this Shakespeare’s few, where to search the dictionary?
If asked, they’d blush and grumble ‘we were just ordinary.’
Yet they heard their country beckon while the ordinary shrank.
They’ve an unsung sort of greatness worthy of the country’s thanks.
“I’m honored to be with them, this company of men.
Through nearly half a century I’ve not met their kind again.
The books don’t count them giants but they’re mighty big to me.
And when I stood among them, I was the tallest I’d ever be.”