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A Veteran Died Today


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Passing along a Facebook find:
 

Good story. A WW2 Vet Joe Shkwareh a Ukrainian who served in the army 1939 -1945. He always said he joined the army to get a pair of boots.He served in Italy and Holland. How he got a copy of this poem is not known. It was written by a journalist in Quebec, Lawerence Vaincourt. Few had ever read the poem.
When Joe made his funeral arrangements he requested that the poem be read at his funeral service. No one but Joe and the funeral director knew about the poem. This is when the poem became well known. It is said that after the funeral the family’s phones rang continually asking about the poem.
Joe joined the RCAF in 1949 and retired in 1974
He passed away 2007.
The title of the poem, “A Soldier died today”
Where Did The Country Go Wrong
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, every one.
And 'tho sometimes to his neighbors
His tales became a joke,
All his buddies listened quietly
For they knew of where hespoke.
But we'll hear his tales no longer
For ol' Joe has passed away,
And the world's a little poorer
For a Veteran died today.
He won't be mourned by many,
Just his children and his wife.
For he lived an ordinary,
Very quiet sort of life.
He held a job and raised a family,
Going quietly on his way;
And the world won't note his passing,
'Tho a Veteran died today.
When politicians leave this earth,
Their bodies lie in state,
While thousands note their passing,
And proclaim that they were great.
Papers tell of their life stories
From the time that they were young,
But the passing of a Veteran
Goes unnoticed, and unsung.
Is the greatest contribution
To the welfare of our land,
Some jerk who breaks his promise
And cons his fellow man?
Or the ordinary fellow
Who in times of war and strife,
Goes off to serve his country
And offers up his life?
The politician's stipend
And the style in which he lives,
Are often disproportionate,
To the service that he gives.
While the ordinary Veteran,
Who offered up his all,
Is paid off with a medal
And perhaps a pension, small.
It is 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,
With your enemies at hand,
Would you really want some cop-out,
With his ever-waffling stand?
Or would you want a Veteran
His home, his country, his kin,
Just a common Veteran,
Who would fight until the end.
He was just a common Veteran,
And his ranks are growing thin,
But his presence should remind us
We may need his likes again.
For when countries are in conflict,
We find the Veteran's part,
Is to clean up all the troubles
That the politicians start.
If we cannot do him honor
While he's here to hear the praise,
Then at least let's give him homage
At the ending of his days.
Perhaps just a simple headline
In the paper that might say:
"OUR COUNTRY IS IN MOURNING,
A VETERAN DIED TODAY."
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Like Joe, there were from 40 to 50,000 Ukrainians in the Canadian Army.  Ukrainians who visit the American cemeteries in Europe are proud to point out Ukrainian names.  I once read a list of Ukrainian names. The only one I can remember though is SGT Michael Strank, one of the Iwo Jima flag raisers.

 

Now they are all either Canadians or Americans.

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Wow.

 

Outstanding.

 

Touching.

 

Real.

 

 

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