Fellow Idahoan Ted M. Boyce read this poem, titled “Veterans Day,” that he authored at a recent breakfast in Idaho Falls to honor veterans. With Mr. Boyce’s permission, I am sharing this touching tribute to the service of veterans.
“I call myself a veteran sir, I answered on the run,
when my country needed me I got a uniform and a gun.
I carried out my orders just as well as I knew how,
left my job in the city, or was it behind a plow.
I call myself a veteran sir, when my country made the call
I answered with a thousand more and saw some good men fall.
We left some on the frozen ground lying face down in the snow,
some were in their foxholes when their final taps did blow.
I call myself a veteran sir, I served on ships at sea,
I left my loved ones all back home when my country needed me.
I lost some shipmates in a fire when our ship took a hit.
We fought our country’s battles and we never, ever quit.
I call myself a veteran sir, I flew above the rest,
we dropped our bombs on enemy soil and shot down some of their best.
I lost a lot of buddies when their planes were hit by flack.
We left them in that foreign land, they never did come back.
I call myself a veteran sir, my wars are all behind,
I keep those precious memories locked up inside my mind.
I am proud that I was able to answer my country’s call.
To serve where I was needed though some valiant men did fall
I call myself a veteran sir, but now I’m past my prime.
I served my country proudly in another place and time.
Let the young men march with rifles, fly the planes and man the rail,
my body needs some rest now, ‘cause now I’m old and frail.
I call myself a veteran sir, I fought to keep my country free.
My country’s proud of what I did, they set this day aside for me.
I thank my God above for me being here today,
And thanks to all the veterans in this good old U.S.A.”
Here is a bit of background about the poem’s author, Ted M. Boyce. Ted is an 88-year-old veteran, who served our nation during two wars: Korea from 1951-1952; Vietnam in 1964 and then again in 1968. He was a Master Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy and served in aircraft maintenance. He retired from the Navy after 23 years serving on six different ships. Thank you, Ted Boyce, for sharing this poem that reflects a veteran’s understanding of answering our country’s call to duty.