A Soldier's Sacrifice (a poem)

This poem is dedicated to Sergeant Aaron C. Elandt, who fell in battle on 30 May 2004,
as well as to the millions of American Fighters who paid and are paying for our freedom with their lives and sprits.


What is the Greatest Sacrifice a Soldier Gives to us?

For the thoughtless the answer is "his life",

For the mother and wife the answer is his time,

That is taken for a year or more,

Or for eternally,

The Christian may say "no greater love..."

A whole man can say his limb, his health,


In truth it is something that no man can know unless he has served his countrymen,

How long a mortal must labor to replace this ghost little thought of,

Like virginity it can only be given once,

And God or his angles never can replace,

A wonderful, and a horrible gift paid for spiritually,


What does a Sergeant give to us when his team is all killed?

Or a friend, as dear as any brother lies in pieces in his arm?


Or the commander,

Who counts his men at the gate?

Again and again,

Who refuses to stop rather than admit the truth:

That one, some, or many, is never to return, 


What does a soldier give to us when he takes another human's life?

One, two or many, what he gives took just one sure shot

But will be exacted throughout eternity,


What of the Medic, who toils for hours in vain,

To save a strange, blood covered man, woman, or child,

With a face absent a name,

But a Child of God all the same,


What of the Soldiers in hospital beds,

With no feet or with no legs,

They still yet yearn to return,

To a sand covered land,

Filled with haters, and killers, not a few,

To stand in harms way with his brothers again,


What of the Soldiers, who conceal wounds deep and unseen,

Who will struggle in secret until the years wear him thin,

And still in the end he will not win back his gift,

This thing that is lost, given,

To Americans one and all,


They bear the same burden, and yet most can hide the scars,

But no doctor can ever heal,

Nor saint could atone,

That God will not return the most precise gift these Soldiers give,

To us all unbidden,


For one cannot see, or understand what is gave,

Unless one has given the same terrible gift,

Secret, unfelt, by most of the American masses,


We oft profess awe, and feign understanding,

In grand speeches, marches, and holidays,

Yet eternity will fade and we can't comprehend,

This deepest sacrifice given, unbraden and freely,

By millions of American Soldiers,

Throughout the last fortcentury,


It rips these souls asunder,

Leaves the brave quaking,

Alone in darkness,

For the most prime part of his soul,

That no matter what joy or richness of life after,

Can never return to fill what the soul, will now, be eternally lacking,


So what is the Greatest Gift A Soldier, too you gave,

We lucky Americans?

His life, heath, time, or wealth?

No, nothing so mundane,


He creeds to us freely simply His Humanity, 

Given without grudge,

Too all Americans, whether sinister or saint,

Too us all the same blessings are counted,


So today as we enjoy our families, friends and freedom,

A holiday from our short good lives,

Remember the rights,

Given unalienable by God,

Yet, exacted through brave men's sacrifice of their Humanity to you,


Thank a Soldier but don't think you can understand,

Unless you have served, his deep pain, pride and honor,

In giving his Humanity to you.


To all the American Fighting men, and women we in ignorance thank you for all that you have sacrificed and will sacrifice to protect this Great Nation.


May God grant you peace.


Gerd Schroeder is a Major in the United States Army.  He is a Veteran of OIF and OEF; and when time permits is a contributor to the American Thinker.


This poem is dedicated to Sergeant Aaron C. Elandt, who fell in battle on 30 May 2004,
as well as to the millions of American Fighters who paid and are paying for our freedom with their lives and sprits.


What is the Greatest Sacrifice a Soldier Gives to us?

For the thoughtless the answer is "his life",

For the mother and wife the answer is his time,

That is taken for a year or more,

Or for eternally,

The Christian may say "no greater love..."

A whole man can say his limb, his health,


In truth it is something that no man can know unless he has served his countrymen,

How long a mortal must labor to replace this ghost little thought of,

Like virginity it can only be given once,

And God or his angles never can replace,

A wonderful, and a horrible gift paid for spiritually,


What does a Sergeant give to us when his team is all killed?

Or a friend, as dear as any brother lies in pieces in his arm?


Or the commander,

Who counts his men at the gate?

Again and again,

Who refuses to stop rather than admit the truth:

That one, some, or many, is never to return, 


What does a soldier give to us when he takes another human's life?

One, two or many, what he gives took just one sure shot

But will be exacted throughout eternity,


What of the Medic, who toils for hours in vain,

To save a strange, blood covered man, woman, or child,

With a face absent a name,

But a Child of God all the same,


What of the Soldiers in hospital beds,

With no feet or with no legs,

They still yet yearn to return,

To a sand covered land,

Filled with haters, and killers, not a few,

To stand in harms way with his brothers again,


What of the Soldiers, who conceal wounds deep and unseen,

Who will struggle in secret until the years wear him thin,

And still in the end he will not win back his gift,

This thing that is lost, given,

To Americans one and all,


They bear the same burden, and yet most can hide the scars,

But no doctor can ever heal,

Nor saint could atone,

That God will not return the most precise gift these Soldiers give,

To us all unbidden,


For one cannot see, or understand what is gave,

Unless one has given the same terrible gift,

Secret, unfelt, by most of the American masses,


We oft profess awe, and feign understanding,

In grand speeches, marches, and holidays,

Yet eternity will fade and we can't comprehend,

This deepest sacrifice given, unbraden and freely,

By millions of American Soldiers,

Throughout the last fortcentury,


It rips these souls asunder,

Leaves the brave quaking,

Alone in darkness,

For the most prime part of his soul,

That no matter what joy or richness of life after,

Can never return to fill what the soul, will now, be eternally lacking,


So what is the Greatest Gift A Soldier, too you gave,

We lucky Americans?

His life, heath, time, or wealth?

No, nothing so mundane,


He creeds to us freely simply His Humanity, 

Given without grudge,

Too all Americans, whether sinister or saint,

Too us all the same blessings are counted,


So today as we enjoy our families, friends and freedom,

A holiday from our short good lives,

Remember the rights,

Given unalienable by God,

Yet, exacted through brave men's sacrifice of their Humanity to you,


Thank a Soldier but don't think you can understand,

Unless you have served, his deep pain, pride and honor,

In giving his Humanity to you.


To all the American Fighting men, and women we in ignorance thank you for all that you have sacrificed and will sacrifice to protect this Great Nation.


May God grant you peace.


Gerd Schroeder is a Major in the United States Army.  He is a Veteran of OIF and OEF; and when time permits is a contributor to the American Thinker.