Before now poetry has taken notice
Of wars, and what are wars but politics
Transformed from chronic to acute and bloody?
from "Build Soil"
Robert Frost

Friday, February 09, 2007

Amazing Grace

The haunting wail of bagpipes is drifting over our corner of Camp Ramadi. Bravo company's amateur pipist is slowly pacing while he practices a song none of us want to hear. The tune he plays is Amazing Grace. Tomorrow morning he will play it at the memorial service for CPL Shannon, the first member of our task force to die here in Iraq. He fell to an unlucky hit from one of the improvised bombs that litter the roads. He was from another company- one of the few from that group that I've spoken with. I didn't know him well, but I'm proud to say I knew him. I wrote a poem in his memory that I didn't plan to post, but one of his friends asked me to.

See now, the soldier-
So far away from home
He's staring into night
And wishing it would end

See now, the bomber-
Fighting war for Allah
He's laying in the grime
Waiting by the trigger

See now, the splinter-
Chased by fiery lace
It's flying with the blast
And tearing flesh in flight

See now, the father-
A bomb-hole in his heart
He's weeping for his son
So far away from war

Rest in peace, Steve.

This post was written 6 days ago. I held it for a few days out of concern for the soldier's family. It took me a few more days after that to publish because of various concerns these last few days.


  1. Anonymous9/2/07 12:04

    Somehow, offering my condolences seems wholly inadequate. So many of us here at home support and are grateful for what you and the rest of the troops are doing over there; and it is so wrenching when there is loss of life. Stay safe, young man. You and your compatriots are in my prayers.

  2. Anonymous9/2/07 14:55

    My thoughts and prayers go out to CPL Shannon and his family back home. The sound of the bagpipe are probably the most melancholy sound on earth. All of our soldiers have my heartfelt support. Stay strong

  3. Anonymous9/2/07 15:18

    Thank you for that poem.
    We are suffering a second casuality
    There is nothing to say but ... I'm sorry.

    Please stay on point
    don't let your guard down for one second
    Please come home safe

    Thank you for the words you write - we read - we learn - we try and understand.


  4. God bless CPL Shannon and his family. God bless all of you in this fight.

  5. That's a wonderful tribute.

    My thoughts are with Cpl Shannon's family, and with all of you.

    Be safe.

  6. Please know I grieve with you a shared loss. May you all be comforted by the spirit of your friend and your shared brotherhood.

    My sincerest condolances to Cpl. Shannon's family. Rest in Peace Cpl. Shannon. You will not be forgotten.

    Thank you Don and all of your brothers for your sacrifices and your service. I am so darn proud to suport you all and of all you have accomplished. God Bless you all.

  7. Anonymous10/2/07 06:55

    TD and all, rest assured Cpl. Shannon was brought home with all the honor and respect he deserved. The escort from the airport was family and military only, with the Patriot Guard Riders joining in escort on the way, and providing an honor cordon of flags for Cpl. Shannon and family at the family's private service. I wasn't there in person, but we were all there in spirit. To the family of Cpl. Shannon our deepest condolences. From a greatful nation, Thank You. Rest in Peace brother. We will never forget.

  8. Anonymous10/2/07 08:10

    Cpl. Shannon's have been in our prayers since we first heard. Thank you for his ultimate service. May God continue to comfort and sustain you.

  9. Anonymous10/2/07 13:12

    Farewell, and Walk with God, Cpl Shannon

    Your poem is a beautiful tribute.

  10. my hand on my heart
    and a prayer in my soul

  11. Anonymous10/2/07 15:46

    A wonderful tribute for a hero. Thank you. Please know that you all are in a lot of Americans' prayers. My condolences, as well, to Cpl Shannon's family and friends, as well to those who served with him. God has gained another angel and America lost a son.

  12. I thank you for your post with tears in my old eyes, it was wonderful. To say thanks seems so hollow, we love you guys and heart felt thank you form an old soldier who wants to be with you.

    Stay safe my friend, the pipes, the pipes..............

  13. An old song, you're too young to remember it: "I'm going Home. I won't have to study war no more. Jesus is coming to carry me Home. I won't have to study war no more!"

    For the entire family from so many of us over here who care and worry and pray for you all.

    God bless.

  14. May God comfort Cpl Shannon's family and watch over all of you who carry on your most challenging tasks in Iraq. You all are in my thoughts and prayer every day.

    All best.

  15. We wanted you to know that we are thinking of you here in Texas, you are not alone. We are so very sorry for your loss.

  16. Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 02/12/2007
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