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
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: