A Soldier

By Karen Rinaldo

They say a soldier is the average of men.
Without wavering they will go where orders send them.
With their life on the line they protect and defend.
I don’t call that the average of men.

A soldier believes in the cause and the fight
And will stay with his troops through the dawns early light.
A bunker is no home, a fox hole, no safe den.
They are not the average of men.

And war takes its toll on the earth and man’s soul
Yet if you asked, they would do it again.
Scarred, exhausted, young dazed faces mapped the places they’d been
These are not the average of men.

A letter from a lover
Was not enough to tame the fear…
And that perfume scented letter,
Was lost in battle, smoke filled air.

On your chest a row of medals
Reminds of a time that gallantly addressed,
The bravest and finest,
You endured the ultimate test.

You are the finest of our nation.
And that valor honors all those deeds,
Another anonymous face in a dangerous place,
In a country’s time of need.

You are the red, white and blue,
You are every stripe and every star,
And we stand in awe and salute you,
Those who are no longer here and those who are.

It has been said that in composure
Sanity breeds beyond wars fiery lines.
And that which makes us stronger
Brings understanding and sometimes forgiveness, in complex times.

They say a soldier is but the average of men.
They’ve been to hell and back again.
Doing what the country expected and asked of them.
I don’t call that the average of men.

© 2021

General Gordon R. Sullivan posing with poet Karen Rinaldo.

I met Lori and Gordon at several social functions over the years, in honor of our veterans and at occasions I hosted at my my gallery.

My admiration and respect for the military is often found in words I pen in poetry.
The poem ”A Soldier“ was inspired by General Sullivan’s life of military service and dedication to our country.

That respect and adulation is something inspiring and humbling to witness.

I feel extremely fortunate to have his friendship and to have observed this admiration felt by so many.

The poem has its own tenor and voice that you sense when reading the words. On the occasions when I have read the poem at Veterans Day ceremonies and other gatherings, the emotion it conveys takes on a special cadence that resonates with those present, very moving.

I am very appreciative of your attention and efforts to get the poem included in On Point.
I look forward to meeting you in the near future.

With great respect, I remain grateful,
Karen Rinaldo