Now I lay myself to rest
After doing my duty to the best
Of all of my ability
And now I have tranquility.
I served my country, true and proud,
When liberty and justice called out loud
And although I may not make it home,
I wish to share with you this poem:
Mother, know I did my best
From north to south and east to west,
And only your loving care
Gave me encouragement out there.
I loved you to my dying day
And I can only hope that you may
Look back on my years, all twenty-two
And see that I always loved you.
Father, you made me the man
Who always knew that he can
Do the things a man should do
Through what I learned for years from you,
And though I may not be coming back
Know that my thoughts did not lack
The wise lessons you shared with me
And your faith in me made me the best I can be.
And to you, my beloved brother
I wish you to know there is no other
Young man out in the world today
Whom I could honestly tell and say
To all my friends I made out here
That I am proud and hold you dear
For you are the greatest young man I know
And I’ll be looking down as in life you glow.
And sister, please remember me
As the kid who played so happily
With you in the yard back home
When we were but children, stress unknown,
And remember that you are the best
Young lady I’ve known and I am blest
To have had you throughout all my life,
And I pray life gives you little strife.
And to all my friends I hold so dear
Remember that as I fought out here
The thoughts of fun times with you all
Helped me push on and fulfill my call,
And I would not trade any one of you
For anything at all, it’s true,
And know that I will come your way
In your thoughts and hearts each and every day.
I am the soldier who will not return,
The one for whom his family shall yearn,
The one whose friends have said their final good bye
And for whom many a person will cry.
But know that I am not quite gone,
For in your hearts I will live on
And I fought oh so valiantly
So you may live in liberty.
And though you may not support my cause,”
Though you may want this war to stop and pause,
Remember please to honor us
Who will never step back on the bus
Heading home to a home cooked meal
Of potatoes, gravy, and baked veal.
We are people just like you,
And if you died, what would you do
If those who disagreed with what you did
Put to shame your name like a bullying kid
And cared not for who you are,
The thing that should go very far,
But rather something you were called to do—
Your job, like any other, required you to.
Letter from a Dying Soldier by Michael T. Martinez (published in the collection The Path of Life)
In memory of all the veterans who did not make it back, and in recognition of the ones who did, whether the war they fought is one I agreed with or not.
Concerning the poem: This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. It is the intellectual property of Michael T. Martinez, but Martinez does not endorse our use of this work nor how we used it in any way, shape, or form. This work is free to share under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported LIcense, a copy of which is found at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/deed.en_us