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"The soul that can speak through the eyes, can also kiss with a gaze."
~Gustav Adolfo Becquer

The Average Soldier

>> Friday, March 07, 2008

The average age of the military man is 19 years.
He is a short haired, tight-muscled kid who,
under normal circumstances is considered by society
as half man, half boy Not yet dry behind the ears,
not old enough to buy a beer, but old enough to die for his country.
He never really cared much for work and he would rather
wax his own car than wash his father's;
but he has never collected unemployment either.
He's a recent High School graduate;
he was probably an average student,
pursued some form of sport activities,
drives a ten year old jalopy,
and has a steady girlfriend that either broke up with him when he left,
or swears to be waiting when he returns from half a world away.

He listens to rock and roll or hip-hop or rap or jazz or swing
and a 155 mm howitzer.
He is 10 or 15 pounds lighter now than when he was at home
because he is working or fighting from before dawn to well after dusk.
He has trouble spelling, thus letter writing is a pain for him,
but he can field strip a rifle in 30 seconds
and reassemble it in less time in the dark.
He can recite to you the nomenclature of a machine gun
or grenade launcher
and use either one effectively if he must.
He digs foxholes and latrines and can apply first aid like a professional.
He can march until he is told to stop or stop until he is told to march..

He obeys orders instantly and without hesitation,
but he is not without spirit or individual dignity.
He is self-sufficient
He has two sets of fatigues: he washes one and wears the other.
He keeps his canteens full and his feet dry.

He sometimes forgets to brush his teeth, but never to clean his rifle.
He can cook his own meals, mend his own clothes,
and fix his own hurts.
If you're thirsty, he'll share his water with you;
if you are hungry, his food.
He'll even split his ammunition with you
in the midst of battle when you run low.
He has learned to use his hands like weapons
and weapons like they were his hands.
He can save your life - or take it, because that is his job.
He will often do twice the work of a civilian,
draw half the pay and still find ironic humor in it all.
He has seen more suffering and death
then he should have in his short lifetime.

He has stood atop mountains of dead bodies,
and helped to create them.
He has wept in public and in private,
for friends who have fallen in combat and is unashamed.
He feels every note of the National Anthem
vibrate through his body while at rigid attention,
while tempering the burning desire to
'square-away' those around him who haven't bothered to stand,
remove their hat, or even stop talking.
In an odd twist, day in and day out,
far from home, he defends their right to be disrespectful.
Just as did his Father, Grandfather, and Great-grandfather,
he is paying the price for our freedom .
Beardless or not, he is not a boy.
He is the American Fighting Man
that has kept this country free for over 200 years.

He has asked nothing in return, except our friendship and understanding.
Remember him, always,
for he has earned our respect and admiration with his blood.
And now we even have women over there in danger,
doing their part in this tradition of going to War
when our nation calls us to do so.
As you go to bed tonight, remember this shot..
A short lull, a little shade and a picture of loved ones in their helmets

Please stop for a moment
and say a prayer
for our ground troops in Afghanistan ,
sailors on ships,
and airmen in the air,
and for those in Iraq.


(Thank you T. for sending this to me.
I wept as I read this.)

~ Greeneyezz

7 Reflections:

delmer 9:01 AM, March 07, 2008  

Nineteen is too young. My oldest is 14 and I can't imagine him being a soldier in just a couple of years.

(I'd thought the average age of a WWII soldier was 30-something, but Googling turns up 26.)

The Thrifty Blogger 7:27 PM, March 07, 2008  

Hey Delmar,
Watch out they'll be recruiting him in high school. I don't think that's right, the parents should be involved from the beginning.

Those poor kids, this world sucks that there has to be war, and terrorists and evil. God bless all the soldiers, of all time. :(

Anonymous 7:04 PM, March 08, 2008  

Thanks, ZZ, for including it on your blog. As you know, my brother is a career soldier who has served in Desert Storm and Iraq - and is now a recruiter (not a fun job as you can imagine). In fact he recuited his own son right out of high school (yup, my mother was REAL pleased with that one!). I understand the call to duty, the pride in serving, and the satisfaction in knowing you can provide for your family (it is a job). I also know the fear families face as their youngsters go off to work in such dangerous, extreme conditions. I personally still can't imagine my skinny 18 year old nephew in wartime conditions. As much I weep when I read such articles as this, I am so proud of the young people who have the passion and pride to take on the job. We need to support all troops and their families and hope for an end to the war soon. (Then this country needs to step up and help them readjust! Well, that's another topic). Lastly, we need to share a concern for the Iraqi citizens who are living through much of the same dangers as our own soldiers (my brother fell in love with the people over there).


Greeneyezz 11:41 PM, March 08, 2008  

Delmer - Their tender age is one of the things that strikes me so deeply. They are so so young. And for them to witness and experience what they go through, breaks my heart. I have 2 nephews in their early 20's, I'm not even a parent to them but don't know what I'd do if either were sent off to war.

Gwen - "This world sucks that there has to be war, and terrorists and evil."
That's an understatement. The irony? The world is watching. And has been for some time. They'll remember. Today's 6 & 7 year old Iraqi/Afganistan civilians, who've watched their own father be killed and mother raped, will be tomorrow's terrosit against America for what 'we've' done to them.
I've said it in a prior post, I'll say it again, some of this is

T. - Thank you again for sending this to me. I know your brother and cousin are serving our country. Your comment "Then this country needs to step up and help them readjust! couldn't have been more on target. So many people can't separate their hatred for Bush and the war with the incredible honorable men and women of our armed forces who are working to keep us safe. There's a video I've been toying with for a long time that I might post, that clearly shows the fucking ignorance of some people. And if I do decide to post it, you'll know right off the bat, as he's one of 'our own' from Syracuse, and I say that with so much disgust, I shudder with embarrassment that this idiot was born and bred here.
And lastly, your comment:
"we need to share a concern for the Iraqi citizens who are living through much of the same dangers as our own soldiers..."
Shows a great sensitivity to another perspective. About 1 1/2 years ago, I had done a post on that. It was a blog, written by an Iraqi woman, about her experience of what't her country. It's very well written and enlightening as well, knowing this was coming from a regular person there. you'll find the blog here:

Finally, the following was taken from a site on my sidebar: MarkBlum:

As of March 06, 2008,
3,974 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq.

29,320 troops have been wounded in action.

4 Americans are M.I.A./P.O.W.

More than 1,000 American civilian contractors have been killed in Iraq.


joderebe 7:32 AM, March 11, 2008  

I was in the military for 26 years. I have 3 boys and a daughter who have served. Two have gone on to graduate from University. None of them have collected welfare. All of them are fiercely independent. Every time I hear about another soldier dying my heart goes out their parents, their family and their friends. What am I trying to say? I don't know except that I am extremely proud of them. I have an opinion I would rather keep to myself. I do notice that those who cry foul the loudest oftentimes have no military experience; whether it be through service or family.
Thank you for this post GreenEyezz.

Greeneyezz 8:37 AM, March 11, 2008  

JD -
"I have an opinion I would rather keep to myself."
I would be interested in your opinion. Please don't ever fear of writing your thoughts about that here. (*psssst*...I don't go back and delete them after)
I still get a lump in my throat when reading this post.
It moved me.


FriedClyde 11:13 AM, March 11, 2008  

and there were no WMD in the first place, all the blood just for oil?

a heart touching poem, im all the way from India, its pretty sad the current state of affairs.

so many of us the common people begging for reform and not one of us satands up to change it...

will we die just waiting for change or die being the change? and then be labelled a terrorist

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