by Cpl. Robert Lin Cook
Jan 1942-Sep 1945

They called us the 
"great generation"
after we fought the war,
we came home to
a grateful nation
that vowed
we'd fight no more.

Our nation stands
always ready
to fight for  
rights we adore
and soon we were
back in foxholes
defending those rights 
once more.

The nation that 
we fought for
was small,
had little to give.
They only wanted assistance
to give them the lives
that they lived.

We spent days
without number in
cold and blistering heat,
we conquered the foe
as 'twas not easy
to make a 
tactical retreat.
We felt no shame in our doing,
we were left unbeaten by far,
a wise man led us to safety,
'tis the fortunes of war.

Was the same generation
that had conquered 
the foe of the East,
they left with the 
satisfied feeling
of stopping the
 Communist beast.
They left that small
nation at peace and
 wholly intact.

Seems we cannot tolerate
a tyrant in command,
we rise up and challenge him
in any clime or land.
Whenever we see
a people suffer
beneath the lash,
We must interfere 
to set them free.

We sent our Marines
upon the scene
in far away 
Vietnam, who
did their best
on their behest to
sweep the nation clean.
They fought a bloody
battle that lasted long 
and ended not well.
They could not
subdue the enemy,
no fault was theirs
to tell.

Our nation was
not with them,
politics intervened.
If they had been 
left alone
there'd be no loss
to atone.

So once again
they left the shores
bloodied but
with heads held high.
Their pride was not extinguished,
it vaulted to the sky.
They came home to a nation
that did not welcome them,
there were no parades
or gatherings, no
happy sounding din.

Time never stops turning,
around and around it goes,
another nation in distress
so off to war we go.
The Marines as is usual
were first upon the scene.
They found a situation
that honed their senses keen,
with time and perseverance,
with help they won the day.

God knows what
will happen next,
what mission
they'll insert.
But you can bet
your lazy ass 
who'll be 
there first.

*     *     *
The author: Robert Lin Cook served with Reg. Weapons Co. (2d-2d) from 1942-44, at Guadalcanal and Tarawa during a 33-month overseas tour.

>>>  Poetry Page
>>>  Memoir Page
The Great Generation