Our country called us to battle when we were but boys;
It seemed only yesterday that we were playing with toys.
I joined the Marines because I knew that they were tough;
When I got to boot camp, they sure did make it rough.
Some of us came from the cities; some came from the farms;
They gave us short haircuts and put needles in our arms.
They made us get up at daybreak, and we began to train;
It didn’t matter if it was hot or if it started to rain.
The D.I. would get angry and thought he’d have some fun;
To toughen us up, he sent us on a ten-mile run.
They gave us a rifle and said it was our friend;
If you didn’t take care of it, you would do another ten.
The weeks went by, and we made Pvt. First Class;
The Marines felt sorry and gave us a seven-day pass.
We went back home to see Mom and Dad;
When it was time to leave, things really got sad.
We went back to camp and trained and trained some more;
Then we got on a troopship and went off to win the war.
When I got to the island where we had to fight,
I kept praying to myself that I’d do all right.
I met my brother, and we both felt glad;
We talked of home, of Mom, and of Dad.
I told him, “If one of us has to give his life,
It should be me, for you have a daughter and a wife.”
We gave a hug and a handshake and went back to fight;
I watched him go until he was out of my sight.
During weeks of battle, we fought in mud and rain;
I lost a lot of buddies; the world will never be the same.
Then I was hit by a bullet, shot by an enemy unseen;
I told the corpsman, “Tell Mom I died like a Marine.”
* * *
About the author: Frank Niader (Clifton, NJ) is the brother of Private William Niader (USMC), who was KIA on 12 June 1945, on Kunishi Ridge, Okinawa. Frank wrote the above poem in November 2000, in loving memory of his brother.