Sunday, March 16, 2008

I Run


Sergeant Charles E.G. Harding, US Army, 15PSB 1st Cavalry Division

Note: Sergeant Harding retired from the Army after he returned from Iraq in 2005 and is putting together a book of his collected poetry dealing with "war and love and and life." Like our first poet warrior, PFC Jamie A. Goldstein, whose mom lovingly e-mailed his poem, Sergeant Harding has a loyal fan who submitted this moving verse: his fiancee Samantha from the United Kingdom, who met him face to face for the first time once he left the Army after an eighteen-month long-distance romance. As Samantha says, it's a real love story. We salute Sergeat Harding for his service, courage, dedication and eloquence. We also salute Samantha for supporting poet warriors--she's helping him make his book a reality--and wish Charles and Samantha happiness as well as success with their poetry book!

I run for the soldiers,
Who can't run, no more
Or walk the way they did before
I live and breathe, all the memories
Of all soldiers passed, who are here, no more

Old soldier, old soldier!
Tell me again.
The people you've known
And the places you've been
How do I deal?
With the loss of my men
And what do I tell, their next of kin

Honor all soldiers
Who have passed away

By leading the living

When you train and pray

Tomorrow is not promised

So, seize the day!

And let the strain of gain

Wash the pain, away

I run for the soldiers, who can't run, no more

Or walk the way they did before

I live and breathe, all the memories
Of all soldiers passed, who are here, no more

Iraq, June 2004

Copyright Charles E.G. Harding, 2004

DISCLAIMER: All poems are the intellectual property of the poets involved and cannot be reproduced without permission.

Gold Star Moms

Poet Warrior Project Archives

Tribute: "To a Gold Star Mom"

Lloyd A. King, US Army, 101st Airborne Division-Airmobile (1968 and 1969), author, FROM 'NAM WITH LOVE

Note: On May 27, 2006, in Lafayette, Louisiana, an area that missed the full force of two hurricanes and helped nearly 100,000 Louisiana citizens ravaged by the hurricanes, a momentous event took place.

Star poet warrior Lloyd A. King joined all generations of veterans organizations such as the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Marine Corps League, active, guard, and reserve units, the Military Order of the Purple Heart for combat wounded veterans, the VFW, and Vietnam Veterans of America and their respective members who have fought in foreign wars, the City of Lafayette, and the local news media such as KLFY TV-10 and the Advocate to pay tribute to Louisiana Gold Star Mothers.

Gold Star Mothers, founded during World War II, honors mothers who have lost a son or daughter in war. This is the first time in Lafayette and possibly United States history that the Gold Star Mothers will receive such a tribute. Specifically, the ceremony will pay tribute to 65 Lafayette soldiers killed in Iraq and two killed in Afghanistan.

Lloyd King wrote to us the week of May 22, 2006:

As an individual and combat veteran from the Vietnam War, I was
asked to read a poem from my book. I declined because none of the
poems in my book is suitable for such an event. Instead, I offered to write a
special poem dedicated to the Gold Star Mothers; which I completed about thirty
minutes after I hung up the phone. This was over a month ago.

In addition to this and, as the newly elected commander of our Military
Order of the Purple Heart Chapter here in Lafayette, I asked our members to
consider presenting a special certificate to the mothers and widows
where applicable. Our members readily agreed. However, no existing certificate stated what needed to be said to these mothers and widows. So, I took it upon
myself to design a special certificate that will also be presented on May 27th.

As it has turned out, I will be the keynote presenter, as I will read
both the certificate and the poem and then present a personalized copy of the
poem, which will have the Gold Star Mother's banner, picture of the mother's
child/soldier, and the Purple Heart Medal at the bottom of each poem. Our chapter will be putting the certificates and poems in frames to be presented on May 27.

When we read Lloyd King's poem, it moved us to tears the way that, fittingly, Pfc Jamie A. Goldstein's "When Eagles Learn To Fly" did. Since the Poet Warrior Project was inspired by the mother of a soldier, Pfc Goldstein's mom, we want to honor those military moms and families to whom America owes so much. We salute those fallen Louisiana soldiers and the many other soldiers that died in the war in Iraq, and we respect and recognize the sacrifices made by their families.

The Poet Warrior Project is proud to commemorate Memorial Day, May 29, 2006, with a poem by one of the finest poet warriors we've ever met, a true American hero like the moms and the fallen soldiers, whose wisdom, courage, and caring should be a beacon for us all.

"To a Gold Star Mom"

As a mother, you never dreamed though a bit chagrined

That the child you nurtured, loved, and disciplined

Would leave home without your watchful eye unprotected

And face the world alone while being subjected

To life’s wrath and to mankind’s unthinkable wickedness

Na├»vely stating, “I’m going to fix the world’s mess.”

As a mother, you developed your offspring’s foundation

Though some days, tears were felt, instead of elation

Yet, lessons you learned and taught helped you resolve

To allow freedom hoping that right would evolve

But some choices, though tough, left you with little doubt

You might lose your child and be left forever without.

Today we honor your sacrifices and hope you understand

That we are here for you to hold your trembling hand

And let you know your grief is felt from both near and far

Pain felt and seen by everyone like the brightest star

An eternal reminder of your sorrow and of your sacrifice

Knowing your child fought bravely and paid the price.

We honor your love and devotion to a child that is gone

To the memory of a soldier that sees no dusk or dawn

We honor you today as an American Gold Star Mother

And ask your forgiveness, as we remind one another

That freedom has a price and it cost you a daughter or son

Preserving peace though the battle has not been won.

Lloyd A. King, Commander, The Military Order of the Purple Heart, William E. ‘Bill’ McKenzie Chapter #504

Copyright (C) Lloyd A. King, 2006

DISCLAIMER: All poems are the intellectual property of the poets involved and cannot be reproduced without permission.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Dessa Byrd Reed, USO Volunteer, Poet

I have known Dessa Byrd Reed, author of THE BUTTERFLY TOUCH and SEVEN BRIDGES, for many years. She is a gifted poet and teacher. She donates her time to the USO at Palm Springs International Airport. In her column "Poetic Living," originally publishing in January 2008 in our local publication The Desert Woman, she has this to say about poetry:

Life itself, with its intense emotions, is poetry ~ just as poetry reflects life. Living poetically is acute awareness ~ how we interpret people, places, and things. It is about originality and creativity. Our daily “routine” can be an adventure poem of imagination and fantasy or it can be a dark poem of drama and lessons learned.

What a profound summation of the poet-warrior's journey. People such as Aaron Gilbert and Lloyd King are certainly acutely aware of life in all its fullness. I adore Dessa's insights and highly recommend her Web site,

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Marine


Sergeant Aaron M. Gilbert, US Marine Corps

Note: Sergeant Gilbert is well known on the Internet and among patriotic Web sites for his writings. We honor Sergeant Gilbert's family and their sacrifice. We support Corporal Gilbert and applaud his service and sacrifice. We also thank people like Richard Carlson, US Navy (Ret.), and his wife Merlene, for bringing Sergeant Gilbert's message to the public that supports American soldiers.

We all came together,

Both young and old

To fight for our freedom,

To stand and be bold.

In the midst of all evil,

We stand our ground,

And we protect our country

From all terror around.

Peace and not war,

Is what some people say.

But I'll give my life,

So you can live the American way.

I give you the right
To talk of your peace.
To stand in your groups,
and protest in our streets.

But still I fight on,
I don't bitch, I don't whine.
I'm just one of the people
Who is doing your time.

I'm harder than nails,
Stronger than any machine.
I'm the immortal soldier,
I'm a U.S. MARINE!

So stand in my shoes,
And leave from your home.
Fight for the people who hate you,
With the protests they've shown.

Fight for the stranger,
Fight for the young.
So they all may have,
The greatest freedom you've won.

Fight for the sick,
Fight for the poor
Fight for the cripple,
Who lives next door.

But when your time comes,
Do what I've done.
For if you stand up for freedom,
You'll stand when the fight's done.

USS Saipan, Persian Gulf, 2003

Copyright (c) Aaron M. Gilbert, 2003

DISCLAIMER: All poems are the intellectual property of the poets involved and cannot be reproduced without permission.

Project Boresnake

I received this message from a talented writer in Southern California. I second her recommendation on boresnakes, as well as her call to support the soldiers.

I am sending this email to let you know about a very special project the NRA Members Councils of Southern California (I am the secretary of the Inland Empire MC) is promoting to support our troops overseas. Please go to You will find information about a simple but potentially LIFE-SAVING tool that the NRA Members' Councils of California are supporting to purchase these boresnakes and have them shipped overseas to our troops. Firearms get filled up with sand, grit and dirt, causing them to misfire and/or jam up, placing a soldier's life in horrific danger. Our soldiers are doing their jobs and standing up for freedom. A small donation will be more than enough to help us in this mission.

Despite what the media is telling us, there is more than enough evidence to support that we are winning the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and putting a serious amount of hurt on the enemy. And no matter how you feel about the war, the bottom line is our soldiers, fellow Americans putting their lives on the line, are over there battling the enemy and the elements for freedom. If you are looking for a good cause to support, please contact me at Just know that you will make a soldier's day less stressful by helping him keep his weapon, the firearm that protects him and defends freedom, clean and ready to go at a moment's notice.

Thank you for your support and God bless America, the greatest nation on this earth.


Caroline Cronin
Secretary, NRA Inland Empire Members Councils of California