The Final Inspection

This poem was sent to me many years ago from a military man I have a huge amount of respect for. Like many, if not most of our soldiers around the world, he has seen and experienced harrowing things that no other but your military peers could even come close to understand or fathom. This poem wreaks havoc with my emotions every time I read it and so I thought I would share it with you all, today, remembrance day. No matter your views on war, force and military action, we cannot forget those that fought for our today and those that continue to fight for our tomorrow.

The soldier stood and faced God,
Which must always come to pass, 
He hoped his shoes were shining, 
Just as brightly as his brass. 

“Step forward now, you soldier, 
How shall I deal with you? 
Have you always turned the other cheek? 
To My Church have you been true?” 

The soldier squared his shoulders and 
said, “No, Lord, I guess I ain’t, 
Because those of us who carry guns, 
Can’t always be a saint. 

I’ve had to work most Sundays, 
And at times my talk was tough, 
And sometimes I’ve been violent, 
Because the world is awfully rough. 

But, I never took a penny 
That wasn’t mine to keep… 
Though I worked a lot of overtime 
When the bills got just too steep, 

And I never passed a cry for help, 
Though at times I shook with fear, 
And sometimes, God forgive me, 
I’ve wept unmanly tears. 

I know I don’t deserve a place 
Among the people here, 
They never wanted me around, 
Except to calm their fears. 

If you’ve a place for me here, Lord, 
It needn’t be so grand, 
I never expected or had too much, 
But if you don’t, I’ll understand.”
 

There was a silence all around the throne, 
Where the saints had often trod, 
As the soldier waited quietly, 
For the judgement of his God.

“Step forward now, you soldier, 
You’ve borne your burdens well, 
Walk peacefully on Heaven’s streets, 
You’ve done your time in Hell.” 


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