The Things That Make A Soldier Great

An American Soldier

An American Soldier (Photo credit: B Tal)

This month we are going to try to honor the members,past and present, of our fine military services. 

Today, we start the month of November with another poem from our favorite, Edgar A. Guest, who sums it up nicely,  those things that make a soldier great.






     by Edgar A. Guest


  The things that make a soldier great and send

     him out to die,

  To face the flaming cannon’s mouth nor ever

     question why,

  Are lilacs by a little porch, the row of tulips


  The peonies and pansies, too, the old petunia bed,

  The grass plot where his children play, the roses

     on the wall:

  ‘Tis these that make a soldier great.  He’s fighting

     for them all.


  ‘Tis not the pomp and pride of kings that make

     a soldier brave;

  ‘Tis not allegiance to the flag that over him may


  For soldiers never fight so well on land or on

     the foam

  As when behind the cause they see the little

     place called home.

  Endanger but that humble street whereon his

     children run,

  You make a soldier of the man who never bore

     a gun.


  What is it through the battle smoke the valiant

     solider sees?

  The little garden far away, the budding apple


  The little patch of ground back there, the children

     at their play,

  Perhaps a tiny mound behind the simple church

     of gray.

  The golden thread of courage isn’t linked to

     castle dome

  But to the spot, where’er it be–the humblest spot

     called home.


  And now the lilacs bud again and all is lovely


  And homesick soldiers far away know spring

     is in the air;

  The tulips come to bloom again, the grass

     once more is green,

  And every man can see the spot where all his

     joys have been.

  He sees his children smile at him, he hears the

     bugle call,

  And only death can stop him now–he’s fighting

An American soldier with a joey, 1942

An American soldier with a joey, 1942 (Photo credit: Australian War Memorial collection)

     for them all.

Photograph of two female american soldiers.

Photograph of two female american soldiers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A crawling soldier

A crawling soldier (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

8 Responses to “The Things That Make A Soldier Great”

  1. Great post, CJ. I lost a previous high school friend in 1970. He was our King of the Prom, not just because he was so handsome, but because he was such a nice person. We remained friends after graduating and taking different paths. He was a brave Green Beret.


  2. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:


  3. Outstanding, CJ! I’m going to write the address down for this post and put the link in on my Veteran’s Day post next week – as long as you approve.


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