Friday, March 10, 2006
This picture is from The Holland Sentinel
Yesterday I was advised to "Never hire a veteran. Veterans are dishonest, untrustworthy, lazy and rarely show up on time. They're uneducated, lack ingenuity, have little if any common sense, have no integrity and usually have a drug or alcohol problem."
A direct quote from a person who was giving me his unsolicited "advice". I don't know him... certainly don't care to know him now.
I did the right thing though. I "walked away". I "walked away" after my brief but rather candid reply.
He knows a bit about me now... just a bit. He knows I'm a veteran as my father is, as my son is, as two of my brothers are, as my grandfather was, as my great grandfather was.
Yep. He damn sure knows I'm a veteran!
And he knows a bit about how I "appreciated" his advice.
After taking a bit of time to calm myself I moved on.
I wanted something... I needed something...
I searched for a poem of sorts that was sent to me when I was "serving the country" in '72. An anonymous sender who cared.
For those who don't know or don't remember public sentiment for people in the military back then, well... let's just say it wasn't all that favorable.
To counter the public's growing disdain a few bold, courageous, well intended individuals took it upon themseles to "reach out"... to attempt to "brighten things up" for the troops. Anonymously, they would send us words of encouragement.
Sent to us as poems, letters, short stories, cards... however they could.
Words of encouragement. Sometimes so simple, quite often so needed.
I remember getting the "poem" back then... from someone I didn't know... from some anonymous individual who really made this young G.I.'s life get so much brighter.
I remember reading it for the first time. The overwhelming feeling of pride... of having a purpose. Hurt and pain momentarily lifted. Fear and anger was pushed aside.
I remember the simple note that accompanied the poem. A handwritten "Thank you!"... that's it. Nothing more. I don't know who penned it... the note or the poem. I don't know when the poem was written. I don't really care.
But, I do want to thank that anonymous person who sent it to me...
As I have so many times already... as I will so many more times I'm sure.
I'm sharing this with you because I was inspired to do so yesterday by the unsolicited "advice" I received! Little does he know, his advice helped... not as he had intended, not as he had hoped... but it helped. I read the poem that I haven't read for oh-so-long...
...and I feel better.
Here's the poem.
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, Mr. 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 how'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;
But Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool - you bet that Tommy sees
Ed or Sue, any idea who penned this and when?