I saw a burial with a bugler playing taps;
I turned to my father, “what happened?” I asked.
He clutched my hand and with a quiver in his voice,
he began to explain and his eyes became moist.
“My son,” he said, “this is rather difficult for me;
for an old veteran like myself this is tough to see.
In that coffin lies a genuine patriotic warrior,
an honest-to-God hero, an American soldier.
I appreciate that soldier and the service he gave,
and I honor his sacrifice as he’s laid in his grave.
He was honorable, selfless, courageous, and bold;
please remember him son, as you grow old.
The value of his service, I must explain,
if not remembered, will be lost in vain.
As a nation we’re nothing without soldiers like him;
and failing to remember would be a terrible sin.”
I listened in awe as my father spoke,
it seemed as if his heart were broke.
I suddenly remembered when he went to war,
and when he returned I thought nothing more.
I never asked why he walked with a limp,
and I didn’t care about why he was sick.
I was too busy enjoying the life that I had,
to realize that I had it because of dad.
I finally understood what my dad was about,
and it hurt so bad I cried out loud.
He sacrificed so much so I could be free,
and his battle scars were suffered for me.
It was my father’s spirit that spoke to me that day;
thank God I finally understood what he had to say.
I saluted his coffin as they laid him to rest,
and I thought about the medals pinned on his chest.
That I didn’t honor him sooner, I will always regret;
and I pledged that day to never again forget.
I’m proud that my dad was a patriotic warrior;
I’m honored to be the son of an American soldier.
Copyright © Ed Coet