by Nihil D. Benuche (Bulldog)
Written in honor of a 103-year-old WWI vet
who died in the Northwest a few weeks ago.
The old Marine lay on his bed,
Thinking of what's to come without dread:
My life has been a long and busy one,
Thought it was over when I fought the Hun.
I still can see that no-man's land,
So many times across it I ran.
The cannons roared and the earth shook like jelly,
Rifles barked, grenades popped, machineguns ripped.
Through this fight we served the Corps,
Through no-mans-land I'll run never more.
My buddies died on my right and left sides,
The mustard gas got those who were still alive.
The "war to end wars," they told us at home,
So off we go, they can't fight alone.
The mud, the rain, the stink of death,
Things to remember for those who are left.
Through the wheat field and on we charged,
Into the Machine guns death chatter.
The field was covered with the dead,
When Marines charge we do not scatter.
On that day we earned a new name,
Of our fighting ways we are never tamed.
I'd give it all back to hear roll call,
And they answered to their names.
In the history books for all to read,
You'll find tales of Marine deeds.
But on this bed so many years passed,
Lies a Marine who lived that tale of guts and glory.
The room comes bright as he lay there,
A smile now on his face.
A shaky hand gives a salute,
As his voice sounds with pride:
"Another Marine reporting, Sir,
I've served my country; now it's time to die."
Slowly, as it settles at his side,
The fierce look of pride fades from his eyes.
All alone in a darkened room,
Another Marine passes from the world, unnoticed.
To take his place in ranks of the Lord's finest.
* * *
The author: Nihil D. Benuche (Bulldog),
PFC, USMC, 1955–59