World War II Royal Canadian Air Force veteran, Lawrence Vaincourt, authored the poem, "Just A Common Soldier" in 1987. The power of his poem has made it a standard for Memorial Day, but emotion-evoking when a part of other military-related events, as well. What follows, abbreviated for time, is the heart of that poem.
"He was getting old and paunchy, and his hair was falling fast. And he sat around the Legion, telling stories of the past. Of a war that he once fought- in, and the deeds that he had done. In his exploits with his buddies, they were heroes ever one. But we'll hear his tales no longer, for ‘ol Joe has passed away. And the world's a little poorer, for a Soldier died today.
He held a job and raised a family, going quietly on his way. And the world won't note his passing, ‘tho a Soldier died today. It's not the politicians, with their compromise and ploys, who won for us the freedom, that our country now enjoys. Should you find yourself in danger, a Soldier, no better friend. Just a common Soldier, who would fight until the end. He was just a common Soldier, and his ranks are growing thin. But his presence should remind us, we may need his likes again. If we cannot do him honor, while he's with us to hear the praise, then at least let's give him tribute, at the end of his humble days. Perhaps just a simple headline, in the media that might say, OUR COUNTRY IS IN MOURNING, a soldier died today."
We live in a wonderful region, richly blessed by the abundance of military members: active, guard, reserve, and veteran. They, alone, have given us, and fought repeatedly to preserve, our cherished freedoms. In tribute, remember their courageous service and sacrifice, this day, and always.