With the exception
of the first two, all the poems on this page came from the
book "KOREAN VIGNETTES: Faces of War". Author/Editor
Arthur W. Wilson. Photographer Norman
WHY DIDN'T I
WAIT TO BE DRAFTED
1942 Given by father to Ray
Why didn't I wait to be drafted
And be led to the train by a band
And put in a claim for exemption,
Oh! Why did I hold up my hand!
Why didn't I wait for the banquet
Why didn't I wait to be cheered
For the drafted men get the credit
While I only Volunteered.
And nobody gave me a banquet
And nobody said a kind word.
The grind of the wheels of the engine
Was the only goodbye I heard.
Then off to the camp I was hustled
To be trained for the next half year
And then in the shuffle forgotten,
I was only a volunteer.
And maybe some day in the future.
When my little boy sits on my knee
And asks what I did in the conflict
And his little eyes look up to me,
I will have to look back as I am blushing,
To the eyes that so trustingly peer
And tell him I missed being drafted,
I was only a volunteer.
WHO IS A
Author: John Valerio, Korean War
"L" Co. 23rd Regt. 2nd Div.
A young man who leaves his wife, mother or
A young man who is will willing to put his life on
the line for a country that he does not know and for
people he has never met.
A young man who sees his buddy getting shot and
cries, wondering whether he may be the next to
Then he comes home. Although he may have been
wounded or a POW, back home no one acknowledges his
No one seems to care.
He is the man, when watching a parade, who cries
when the American flag passes by. He knows that
freedom is not free.
He is the man that cries at night when he sees his
buddy getting shot again and again.
That is who a combat vet is. Do you know who he is?
Ask your grandfather. It could be
"THE LAST ROLL CALL OF PAST
Author: Frank Petrena, USA
Submitted By: John P. Kamperschorer,
There's a hush over the old company,
The old beer haunts are quiet as can be.
You can hear the past relived, and see,
"The last roll call of past infantry."
Once more you can see many of the men,
With their weapons and helmets over there.
Will they go back upon the ridge again,
Perhaps on a night patrol somewhere?
Their service boots well-worn, dirtied with mud,
Their battle gear is all soiled and wet.
Dirty uniforms with the rust of blood,
Haunted men that you'll never forget.
If you had to go through it all again,
Would you do it once more for your country?
Would you be up there with the rest of them,
"The last roll call of past infantry?"
The girls in the towns where yo'u used to go,
Don't recognize you anymore, it seems.
They quietly pass you by, as though,
You're a lost soul, from some mother's
There is no one to drink with anymore,
And you always drink too much when alone.
No one helps you out of scrapes like before,
No more good times like the ones you'd known.
Somewhere a harmonica starts to play,
Voices from the past are singing off key,
It sounds as if they are singing today,
"The last roll call of past
Author: Bob Aline, USA
In the rustle of the leaves, and crispness of Autumn
You see and hear the goodbyes of Summer.
The golds and browns of Oak and Aspen herald.
The not so welcome start of Winter
A first chill of morning stirs the haunts of an old
memory, boldly proud, deathly sad
From behind graying temples panoramas edge their way
through the years, recalling
Woodsmoke in the air, snowflakes silent as light,
drifting in the mud ruts of a road never quite
A holiday dinner in a miniature classroom
A foxhole for an easy chair, with a cigar and
Aroma of turkey in the oven, again a holiday,
pumpkin pie and chestnuts Or powder of first snow
All ignite the flame of fraternity
When first it happened was a long time ago
But not for those who were there
From the chill of that long-ago winter
Came the men from Chosin
Beginning a shared experience
Not yet ended.
Author: William E. Moore,USMC
There is a story that should be told
Of seven brave men
Facing death in a place called Chosin
Snow 3 feet deep and 40 below
A night patrol is ordered
Seven volunteer, alive and wounded.
Beards crusted with ice and blood
Feet frozen beyond pain.
Lives depend on this patrol
Loved ones pray for their return
A sniper's aim is true
Six alive and wounded.
Hungnam is 70 miles south;
Safety, warmth and food,
Quietly the advance, inch by inch
One man coughs:
Five alive and wounded.
Night becomes day
Flares burn slowly in the black sky
Silent is the air, too cold for sound
Grenades explode, a deafening roar
Three alive and wounded.
One hour without movement
Bones and muscles resist
Nerves strained and tense
Make one want to scream
A burp gun shatters the silence
Two alive and wounded.
A bullet races on its way.
Flesh gives way to steel;
One alive and wounded.
Alone and scared remains the one:
Forty below and sweating.
An upward look into a Chinese face,
Frozen hands can't pull the trigger.
A blow to the head and blessed sleep;
One alive, wounded, and a prisoner.
"THE LAST ROLL CALL"
Aline, USA L/23/2Div
Ghostly figures of Infantrymen rise into view,
They march with the same spirit as they used to
"Halt!", the Sergeant commanded, loud and clear,
This Is our last roll call, just
As each name was called, the Captain thought,
"Yes, I remember him and how he fought,
Each man so gallant - so brave,
It was their total heart they gave."
A leg missing here - an arm gone there,
A hole through the helmet for someone to wear.
"All present and accounted for, Sir,", the Sergeant
"Those still living and those now dead."
"Thank you, Sergeant - one last command,
"Let's all drink a toast before we disband",
They saluted the glory of their past,
Then each slowly departed - this was their last.....
Submitted By: Chester E.
Slade, USA A/1/17/7Div
Below the Russian Border
Korea is the spot where
Doomed, we serve our time
In the land that time forgot.
Fighting the mosquitos,
Digging the ground with picks,
Doing the work of spooks,
And too damned tired to kick.
Down with the lizard and snake,
Down where I get blue,
Right in the middle of nowhere,
Ten thousand miles from you
We freeze, we shake, we shiver
It's more than we can stand.
But we are not convicts;
We are guardians of the land.
We are soldiers in the infantry
Earning our meager pay;
Guarding the people of Korea,
For two-sixty a day.
Living with only memories,
Just waiting for our gals;
Hoping when we get home
They haven't wed our best pals
Nobody knows we are living,
Nobody gives a damn;
Back home we are soon forgotten;
Our ass belongs to Uncle Sam.
And when we get to heaven
We will hear St. Peter yell,
"Bring in those boys from Korea!
They served their time in Hell!"
"IS A COMMON
Author: Richard Kirk, USA C/58AFA/3Div
We stand here today
To honor the Legion of the Brave.
For them the ruffles and flourishes
For them the standards dip
For them the colors, star-laden,,
Stand forth, breeze,whipped, in glory..
For them we shall, this day...
PASS IN REVIEW...
Author: Patrick J.O"Connor, Royal Canadian
THERE IS BLOOD ON THE HILLS OF KOREA
TIS THE BLOOD OF THE BRAVE AND TRUE
WHERE THE 25th BRIGADE BATTLED TOGETHER
UNDER THE BANNER OF THE RED, WHITE AND BLUE
AND AS THEY MARCHED OVER THE FIELDS OF KOREA
TO THE HILLS WHERE THE ENEMY LAY,
THEY REMEMBERED THE BRIGADIERS ORDERS:
"THESE HILLS MUST BE TAKEN TODAY."
FORWARD THEY MARCHED INTO BATTLE
WITH FACES UNSMILING AND STERN,
THEY KNEW AS THEY CHARGED THE HILLSIDE
THAT SOME WOULD NEVER RETURN.
SOME THOUGHT OF THEIR WIVES AND MOTHERS
SOME THOUGHT OF THEIR SWEETHEARTS SO FAIR
AND SOME AS THEY PLODDED AND STUMBLED,
WERE REVERENTLY WHISPERING A PRAYER.
THERE IS BLOOD ON THE HILLS OF KOREA,
IT IS THE GIFT OF FREEDOM THEY LOVE,
MAY THEIR NAMES LIVE IN GLORY FOREVER,
AND THEIR SOULS REST IN HEAVEN ABOVE.
"KOREA: THE FORGOTTEN
Author: Fred M.Lane Jr. USA
We ask for so little and we ask for no more
But, Please remember Korea, the Forgotten War,
Some men are members of The Chosin Few
A place In Korea that we never knew.
We got there the 27th of November
At the Chosin Reservoir. I'll always remember
So many died ... but they all died in vain.
Some died quickly, but many died in pain.
Thirty-four trucks loaded with wounded and dying,
Oh, Lord, what a shame;
I watched gas poured on them...and then,
I saw them go up in flame.
If I go to heaven ... and I hope I do,
I'm sure I'll meet the men of The Chosin Few.
This is the end of my story, but I"ll ask it once more,
Please remember Korea, the Forgotten War.
The hills around us bombed with napalm were bare,
And,"Yes," Hell did freeze over once...
I know because I was there.
My name is Fred and my brother is James,
We survived going through that misery and pain,
After 44 years,I read and hear my mouth
That in Korea, there's still a North and a South.
This is truly the end of my story...and I'll say no
But,when James and I left Korea, we had won our war.
Author: Robert Holtzer, USMC D/1st Tank
In the cold of winter, when the snow starts to fall,
My heart is filled with memories, I'd rather not
Those days of my youth,
When I heard the battles roar.
In Korea's frozen hell at the "Chosin Reservoir."
"Hell Fire Valley" we were trapped with tank and truck
Hit with machine guns and mortars,at first we went
Men failing in battle, I can still hear their cries,
Faces twisted in pain and terror glazed their eyes.
"Turn the trucks aroundl" I heard somebody yell.
I reached for my buddies, I watched them as they fell.
We rallied altogether to stop the enemy tide,
We prayed as we fought; "Dear God," be on our side.
They hit us from all sides and they wouldn't let us
Task Force Drysdale fought on and they did stand the
Bloodied and beleaguered some men did make it thru.
To support the embattled bastion we called'Hagaru.'
Those still on the road where the dead and wounded
Were left to their fates, to spend a night in
Our positions over run we felt the battles
We crawled to new positions, but we found no help
Hit again, we shrunk into small circles to
With the wounded and the dying, Oh God! "Will it
The battle was getting worse as it reached a fevers
The enemy was killing our wounded as they fired into the
"Throw down your weapons! Surrender," our tormentors
"Stop and save your wounded, too many men have
"Go to hell!" they answered; as they fought on thru the
"We've got to hold til dawn, come on morning's
They ran out of ammunition when they finally had to
They'd surrender to save their wounded, "Please
don't let them die."
They were marched off to prisons to suffer for many
I personally want to thank them "with all my heart felt
This tale of Hell Fire Valley may not seem much to you,
But those brave men of Task Force Drysdale, "did help save
These men laid down their lives for the glory of the
When we added to the legacy, at the 'Chosin