The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

November 9, 2013

Life Behind the Pine Curtain: A soldier's 'final inspection'

Palestine Herald-Press

PALESTINE — EDITOR’S NOTE: Life Behind the Pine Curtain is a series of anecdotes collected and edited by Herald-Press Publisher Gary Connor.

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, 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 have not.

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 just got 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.”

— Author Unknown


It's the Soldier, not the reporter

Who has given us the Freedom of the Press.

It's the Soldier, not the poet,

Who has given us the Freedom of Speech.

It's the Soldier, not the politicians

That ensures our right to Life,  Liberty  and the Pursuit of Happiness.

It's the Soldier who salutes the Flag,

Who serves beneath the Flag,

And whose coffin is draped by the Flag.