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All the poems on this page came from the book "KOREAN VIGNETTES-Faces of War". Editor/Author Arthur W.Wilson. Photographer Norman Strickbine.


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OUR DUTY

Author: Rick R.Seward, USMC E/2/5


I have walked the halls of our forefathers,
Prayed in churches of this land;
Have known the fury of the tempest
And soared aloft where the jet stream plays.

Been in the rage of battles,
To bring war's end;
Have heard the orphan's cry,
And seen the widow's tears;
Heard the laughter of my children,
And the laughter of their children.

And through it all, an echo resounds - asking
"What is the cost ... A life? A limb? A Brother lost:"

While valor rings loud in word and song,
Who speaks for those that still march In the Valley of Shadows?

We shall, Lord ... we, their Brothers,
We the living, by Your Grace; ... It's our duty."
So, comrade, don't lament your loss,
Nor weep for them;
But speak for them,
With stories untold;
From them a duty calls.


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CHOSIN RESERVOIR

Author: Boyce Clark, USMC E/2/7


Here is a story that must be told,
Of Marines who fought in the bitter cold.
Some were veterans of WW 11,
They would soon join the ranks,
Called the "Chosin Few".

These veterans, though not too old,
Had one thing in common, all were bold!
Always outnumbered, but never outfought,
Fulfilled the lessons they were taught.
The Division was cut off, constantly hounded,
Then "Chesty" was heard to chime,
"They've got us surrounded.
The bastards won't get away this time".
Frozen hands and frozen feet,
The landscape covered like a great white sheet.
Still, they fought through the wintry breeze,
And destroyed eight divisions,
Of the encircling Chinese.
Grunts on the ground will alway share,
A special kindred for the Marine Corsair.
Their close air support left no doubt,
Of devastated Chinese along the route.
From Yudarn-ni and Toktong pass,
Then Hagaru and Koto-ri,
First Division Marines fought their way to freedom,
To Hungnam and the Sea.
Now, truly a band of brothers,
We honor those Marines we never knew,
Hereafter, they will share with us in spirit, we are:..... THE CHOSIN FEW.. ~


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FALLEN COMRADES

Author: Donald A. Chase USA 1/15/3DIV


No matter what I'm doing, or where my steps may roam,
I think about my comrades who never came back home.
Many years have passed, but my memory hasn't dimmed;
A picture of those men, still clings and lies within.

I see their unlined faces, which never did grow old;
The shy, timid, withdrawn ones, and also those so bold.
Still hear their youthful banter, brightening many dreary days,
Keeping all their fear Inside, each one in different ways.

Yet all did their duty, as good soldiers do so well,
Existing under conditions, that offtimes were sheer hell.
I remember all the sharing, both rations and packages from wives;
This generousness of spirit, always kept so much alive.

All of this stays with me, ever turning in my mind,
Faces drifting pass my eyes, from another place and time.
So many times I've wondered, why them instead of me?
Maybe in some future world, I'll be allowed to see.


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BALLAD OF CHOSIN

Author: Frank M.Gross, USMC 1/3/7


The nights are cold in Korean soil,
But the night's been cold before,
And its not so hard in your own yard,
To be set for peace or war,
But in history there's a chapter,
Of a place called Valley Forge,
Repeated one December on,
The Chosin Reservoir.

They had us all surrounded,
I could hear them scream and yell,
My feelings at that moment,
No tongue could ever tell.
I saw the bursting mortar shells,
And the bullets around me flew,
As all my strength had left me,
And all my courage too.

With the breaking of the morning,
Just before the dawn,
I heard the sounding bugles,
And the big attack was on.
The cotton quilted uniforms
Against our bullet spree,
The screaming yelling banzai,
They called the human sea.

Baby faces bearded,
And chapped with hardenin'mud,
Parkas that were dirty,
And stained with frozen blood.
Here a bunch of youngsters,
Who fought on till the end,
In the battle of the Chosin,
Where boys were changed to men.

Twelve long miles of convoy,
Headed for the sea,
Roadblocks at every turning,
Down through Koto-ri.
The frost bite and the wounded,
With their dead and dying too,
No matter what the objective be,
These boys were going through,
The Captain he informed us.

Perhaps he thought it right,
That before we reach the river, boys,
We're going to have a fight.
We're going out like Marines,
In an organized withdrawal,
And no matter what the rumors say,
It's no retreat at all.

We fought at least nine hours,
Before the strife was oer'
And the like of dead and wounded,
I've never seen before.
But the everlasting prormise,
Kept along each bloody yard,
No one leaves behind the wounded,
'Cause there ain't no fight that hard.

The chaplain collected dog tags,
In his hands were quite a few,
There was Captain Smith's, McCloskie's,
And Corporal Bryan's too.
And before we reached the river,
And fought our way back through,
The sergeant had the dog tags,
And he had the chaplain's too.

If I made you pause one moment,
And take a little time,
Then I know it wasn't just in vain,
That I put these words to rhyme.
For there's just too many people,
Who take this all in stride,
Who hear these tales of battles,
Then cast it all aside.

The nights are cold in Korean soil,
But the night's been cold before,
And its not so hard,
In your own back yard,
To be set for peace or war.
But in history there's a chapter,
Of a place called Valley Forge,
Repeated one December on,
The Chosin Reservoir.


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DREAMS

Author: Donald A.Chase, USA 1/15/3Div


Life is pleasant in sunshine's bright light,
But apprehension begins with the coming of night.
You fall asleep, but dreams fill your mind,
Of days of terror once thought left behind.

Of days on an outpost in no-man's land,
Seeing the pieces of what once was a man.
Who he was, no one will know,
Only part of his head and one hand show.

The unseen mortor coughs up its shell,
Followed by a blast that casts its spell,
There is nowhere to go, no place to hide,
As the screaming shrapnel spreads ever so wide.

At last it's quiet, but you still hug the ground,
Shocked at first by the absence of sound.
The heartbeat slows and you wake to find,
It's just another dream playing tricks with your mind.

These scenes of battles from days long ago,
Are kept buried inside so no one will know.
And although you try with all your might,
You can't stop the dreams that come with the night.


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"THE FORGOTTEN WAR"

Author: Debra Hallmark (Dedicated to Charles E.Hedges, USA G/2/31/7Div


When I was young and growing up,
I used to hear him weep at night;
He'd cry out names of men he knew,
And stood beside in war to fight.

The pain unleashed by memories,
That so many have kept unseen;
A war he fought so long ago,
At the young age of seventeen.

He spoke of many boys that died,
Even ones he didn't really know;
And the miles and miles of land they walked,
Over covered mounds of frozen snow.

As he spoke of these memories,
The tears would fill his saddened eyes;
And he thanked God that he came back,
But still grieves for those who died.

This war forgotten by so many,
A war remembered by so few;
A war relived by those who fought,
A war that took our loved ones, too.

We remember World War I and 11,
Who fought and who perished;
And the men who went to Vietnam,
Have a monument now cherished.

But still another is pushed away,
Just a cobweb in our minds;
The war that took many more men,
In the shortest length of time.

Our hearts should hold a special place,
And our land in dedication,
Where relatives go hand in hand,
All across this nation.

To see the names of the men who fought,
And the ones who are no more;
And to those men who live the memories,
Silently mentioned, "The Korean War."


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UNWANTED MEMORIES

Author: Joseph H.Reynolds, USMC D/2/7


Often when I sit alone, and twilight fills the sky,
I find myself recalling scenes from other years gone by.
Memories of Korea still clutter up my head,
Those dreary days and hellish nights, and my friends, long dead.

The many hills we fought through, which never seemed to end,
And all the while the fear inside, of death around the bend.
The clashes with the enemy, who sometimes fled away,
But, for every hill we won, someone had to pay.

Maybe one was lucky, when a bullet found an arm;
for a litue while, at least, you were safe from harm.
My mind recalls the icy weather, when diseases took their toll,
When frozen feet were common, from winter's numbing cold.

The trench line with its bunkers and grimy faces there,
Where if you were observant, you saw the burnt-out stare.
The pathway from the trenches that led to no-man's land,
A torn and barren place of ground, destroyed by human hand.

Always, there were those who fell, never to arise,
And to this day, I still can see the shock in startled eyes.
These vivid pictures locked inside, although they do not show,
Never seem to leave my thoughts, no matter where I go.


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KOREA 1950

Author: Joseph H.Reynolds, USMC D/2/7


One bitter night near Koto-Ri,
I captured one of the enemy.
He read my eyes and knew the deal,
He knew at once I had to kill.
In broken English, he made request,
To see the picture in his vest.
I nodded "Yes" above battle noise,
And stared with him at wife and boys.
"Go!" I screamed. "Get out of here!"
He turned and ran and disappeared.
Oft I've wondered if he made it home,
Or is he buried in Korea's loam?
Did he ever again his family see?
But I've wondered most,
Were roles reversed,
How he would have treated me.


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A TIME TO REMEMBER

Author: Boyce Clark, USMC E/2/7


I stood alone and looked around,
At this windy, cold and hallowed ground.
The countless markers, row upon row,
A reminder of wars fought long ago.
This common ground they all now share,
Why are so few here to care?
Complacent? Forgetful? Who's to say?
A time to remember, a time to pray.
Some fought "the war to end all wars,"
A better life for all:

Still World War 11, Korea,'Nam,
Where's the answer to it all?
Peace is hard to come by,
If these men could only speak,
I'm sure their answer would be as one,
"Treasure liberty! Don't be weak!
Just don't forget, we did our share,
For country, freedom and you.
Is it too much then to ask,
To remember ... give us our due!"


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CHANGE OF STATION

Author: Dean E.Witty, USMC 1/11


We found him in a drift of ice and snow,
With rigid limbs, stilled heart, and ashen face;
The earthly light snuffed out by Thor's swift blow;
With God, the inner light had found its place.

We knew him well, a warrior true and brave,
This well-earned rest, to follow years of strife,
Was just reward to one who humbly gave,
So much for God and man ... his very life!

A wife he had who'd followed him for years,
To every camp he'd served in, good and bad.
A note to her we found, a source of tears;
We pictured her in grief, in mourning clad.

How wrong we were to think this mate would grieve,
And waste her tears. The note bared it all; it told,
Us how her heart would speak, "He'd have to leave,
Someday; no time for wails, he'd want me bold."

"My dear," he'd said, "When you see this, you'll know,
I've gone to join the others of my fate;
'Twas always thus, I went before to show,
Myself a worthy man for you, my mate.

We both are old, we've shared much joy, and now,
The best is soon to come! You've much to do;
No time to waste. I know for sure, somehow,
This NEW COMMAND will save a place for you.

You've packed before, you know our wants, our needs.
They said up here our pack is light; I deem,
That on THIS BASE the Roster's ranked from deeds,
Performed on earth. I've found a HOME SUPREME!

We've worked for years. for God and man, to earn,
This rank. We have a flghter's right to boast.
I've penned this note in hopes you'd learn,
I'll wait for you at this, our FINAL POST."

(Written in honor of a comrade frozen in the snow of Chosin.)


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OLD COMRADES

Author: Unknown


I walked among MY conmrades brave,
Upon that bloody hill I saw no movement,
None at all,
For it was deathly still,
There were no cries from deathly lips.
No soldiers blasphemy,
I call their names out,
Everyone,
But no one answered me.
I know each rock, each clump of trees,
That marks this hallow ground,
For in my mind I see them fall,
And hear that battle sound,
But now the silence takes a breath,
For all that I can see,
Are rows and rows of crosses,
Where old Comrades used to be.


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