ManCry Tribute: For The Soldiers

March 19, 2010 at 11:42 am | Posted in Articles, News | 1 Comment
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Parade of the Final Inspection

A few more British troops have lost their lives this week in Afghanistan. My heart goes out to anyones family who has lost a family member. It’s often we forget after reading the news that the person is always someones son or daughter or sadly even a father themselves. This week I had a e-mail that had me with a very dry throat and almost in tears. I then was recommended a poem by my father that I cannot believe I’ve never heard of. It’s simply amazing and it’s called Tommy Atkins. It’s just as applicable now than it was when it was written.

So as an ex-servicemen myself I wanted to share a story with you all. I served in Iraq as an Infantryman. When I finished my tour, a friend and I decided to travel the east coast of the U.S.A,  literally weeks after we got back. On the plane journey over we were naturally just talking about some of the events in Iraq between ourselves. The good, the man, the smiles  etc like all servicemen do. After the plane landed and we were exiting the door, a passenger stopped us and said ” I heard you guys talking about Iraq. I just wanted to say thanks so much for what you have done, heres $20 and the first beers are on me!” We were completely blown away, a guy who didn’t even know us, from the US was so proud of us he said thanks and gave us money. I’d never heard of anything like it, or expected it.

The rest of our 3 week trip proved to be more of the same.  A young couple asked if they could have “the honour” of showing us around Boston and bought us drinks. We went into a nice big bar/pub – ( one of them must of had a sneaky word) , a  live band  on stage  said “Could the two British Servicemen standup please” (We were both bright red thinking this isn’t needed!) and literally EVERYONE in the bar applauded us for serving in Iraq and then came to meet us and talk. It was an unforgettable vacation which none of us will forget. A big thanks to the Americans for that.

So as a proud ex soldier myself I would just like to say if only EVERY SOLDIER could get a heroes welcome home like we did (even if it was another country!). Everyone deserves it and if it wasn’t them out their it could have well been YOU out there. Remember us, appreciate us and above all else, if you disagree with us or not, please respect us. We’ve earnt it!

Enjoy these moving poems:

The Final Inspection

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 judgment 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.”

TOMMY

by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

I went into a public-‘ouse to get a pint o’ beer,
The publican ‘e up an’ sez, “We serve no red-coats here.”
The girls be’ind the bar they laughed an’ giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an’ to myself sez I:
O it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, go away”;
But it’s “Thank you, Mister Atkins”, when the band begins to play,
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it’s “Thank you, Mister Atkins”, when the band begins to play.

I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but ‘adn’t none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-‘alls,
But when it comes to fightin’, Lord! they’ll shove me in the stalls!
For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, wait outside”;
But it’s “Special train for Atkins” when the trooper’s on the tide,
The troopship’s on the tide, my boys, the troopship’s on the tide,
O it’s “Special train for Atkins” when the trooper’s on the tide.

Yes, makin’ mock o’ uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an’ they’re starvation cheap;
An’ hustlin’ drunken soldiers when they’re goin’ large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin’ in full kit.
Then it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, ‘ow’s yer soul?”
But it’s “Thin red line of ‘eroes” when the drums begin to roll,
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it’s “Thin red line of ‘eroes” when the drums begin to roll.

We aren’t no thin red ‘eroes, nor we aren’t no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An’ if sometimes our conduck isn’t all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don’t grow into plaster saints;
While it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, fall be’ind”,
But it’s “Please to walk in front, sir”, when there’s trouble in the wind,
There’s trouble in the wind, my boys, there’s trouble in the wind,
O it’s “Please to walk in front, sir”, when there’s trouble in the wind.

You talk o’ better food for us, an’ schools, an’ fires, an’ all:
We’ll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don’t mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow’s Uniform is not the soldier-man’s disgrace.
For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Chuck him out, the brute!”
But it’s “Saviour of ‘is country” when the guns begin to shoot;
An’ it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ anything you please;
An’ Tommy ain’t a bloomin’ fool — you bet that Tommy sees!

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