A Fallen Soldier

Write a tribute to a fallen soldier,

A simple task it might seem,

For I did not know him,

He was not my soldier.

And in the writing of it

I came to know him,

I saw my soldier in him,

He was an Infantryman.

Young and bold and brash,

With a smile that lit up the room,

Even though it was just a photograph

Wow it must have been something to see

that smile up close in person.

He had a young lady who loved him,

And a little baby boy that made him smile so big

I saw that smile in all the photographs I found

While researching who he was.

While attempting to know him

That I might tell others who he was

And how he died in our service.

That little boy of his is growing up fast

I have never met him in person

But I see him often in the photos his mom posts

The first time I saw him he was in his father’s arms,

Such a big smile on his dad’s face,

You could see the love and pride written there.

The next photo was of the little boy,

All alone on the beach,

Sitting in the surf, playing,

As a heart shaped wave encompassed him,

Gently it wrapped around the child

Playing in the surf.

There have been many others

The boy laughing, playing, smiling

The boy with the lizard

The boy with his mom.

And then today there was a new one.

The boy kneeling before a tombstone

His head is bowed

Perhaps he weeps

Or perhaps he prays

Or perhaps he is simply reflecting

All I see is his back and his bowed head

And the tombstone of his young father

Who had such a beautiful smile

Who was an Infantryman

And my hearts breaks

For the boy,

For his father

For the loss

And the pain

For the war

That keeps on taking

And taking

And taking

It seems the full price is never paid.

Bless the boy Lord,

Bless him all his days.


   I was once called to write a tribute for a young infantryman named Kalin Johnson who died on March the 8th, 2011.Writing tributes requires research, and in that research you often find photos and stories from the families that will really break your heart. The fallen warrior becomes more than a name, and you begin to see their life, their loves, their hopes and dreams, and you see up close and personal the sorrow they have left behind.

Sometime after writing Kalin's tribute  I was blessed to come to know his young lady and to watch via social media the growth of their young son. I wrote a lot of tributes for the fallen, and so many of them are forever engraved upon my memory, but there is something special about Kalin Johnson. I wrote this poem for Kalin and for Logan. It was inspired by a photograph of Logan in front of his father's tombstone.

Rest in peace Kalin Johnson. Although I never knew you in person, I shall never forget you.

The original tribute:


A memorial page in his honor: