April 27, 2010
Fort Wainwright, Alaska's post library, held a writing competition for Soldiers and their families recently. Very few submissions were received, but those received were infused with intense emotions. Three were chosen to represent different elements of war: expression of creativity while in the field, the pain of missing a loved one, and honoring the memory of fallen friends.
Two of the poems chosen were submitted anonymously; a Soldier serving at Forward Operating Base Warhorse wrote one. It was accompanied by a sketch. The only information attached was, "Missing you."
This black earth it holds me back
I only wish that I were home
So you could tell me what was right
And I could try to change what's wrong
It's all the distance between us now
That gives me fear that you are gone
Please hear my heart that beats loud
And just hold onnnnnnn
Just hold on...
If the battles I have lived through
Were in vain then give me death
In this war there are only losers
As the victors beat their chests
I'm just animal in nature
Without knowing I am in your heart
Just not knowing brings out anger
And it's tearing me apart
Hold on...hold on...
The fertile earth consumes me now
Underneath this great dark cloud
Your last words deeply cut me
From my grave I'll cry out loud!
<i>Someone waiting for a Soldier to come home wrote the other anonymous poem:</i>
save again for later
bring the ache
tomorrow still gone
Sgt. 1st Class Andre Anderson of 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment (attached to the Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division), wrote a memorial poem for Soldiers who were killed within days of arriving at FOB Warhorse in October 2008. "We just got here," Anderson said. "I remember walking from the tricon, everyone scattering, doing the accounting thing...everyone converged on the area behind the pad...medics were running from everywhere with their bags on."
The newly arrived team had its first casualties within the first days of its arrival-Spc. Heath K. Pickard immediately, and Pfc. Cody J. Eggleston a week later.
Anderson tried to console his Soldiers. His concern at the time was that his Soldiers were too new-they were not yet ready. He listened to what they had to say. "They don't know how to put it down in pen," said Anderson. So, he wrote it for them:
The pursuit of freedom brought you here
to rescue a nation, release them from terror and fear
it's because of you that others have hope
you have shined a bright light on strangers that were at the end of their rope
we will cherish the memories of you standing tall, proud to serve, a honorable soldier, heroes to us all
you believed in a cause, a desire to do what you felt was right
you gave your life, the ultimate sacrifice
your brothers in arms will keep you, YOUR MEMORY WE WILL HOLD TIGHT, you will walk with us stride for stride, OUR GUIDING LIGHT
fallen soldier, may you now have peace, may all that you tried to give lay at your feet
fallen soldier, we will never forget; your blood, your tears, your sweat
fallen soldier we will end this with you, just as it began
walk silently, your boot prints in the sand
you can rest now soldier, your work on earth is complete
we honor you, we salute you
rest in peace.
in memory of:
Spc. Heath Pickard and Pfc. Cody Eggleston, Company C, 1/5.
<i>Content gathered by Joy Wohlman Boyce, a library technician at the Fort Wainwright, Alaska, post library.</i>