When I was young we marched one day, to the rhythm of the drum
Our ears attuned to the music that would lead us far from home.
We stood so tall and stiffly then, (not like I stand today)
And we stepped so quickly to the beat that pulled us all away.
As I passed by, I saw the eyes of my parents sore afraid
To watch me marching to the fray in this our last parade.
Our mothers waved us off to war, the bitter tears they fell
Our fathers cheered us down the lane with stiffen lips to quell.
They bid us loud ‘God-speed’, and ‘come home soon’ without delay
And some of us did soon return, in boxes painted gray.
While others lingered longer there, throughout the summer days
And wished we’d never marched away, to some forgotten fray.
The days arrived by bugle’s call, and ended by the same
Voices raised, and rockets fall complete the night’s refrain.
I moved more quickly in those days, of trials and despair
My mind can see the battered men that worried with me there.
Forgotten by all, (save those we knew), no value for today
Once we gave our lives away, in some forgotten fray.
It’s easier now to talk about the fearful things we did
To prove our worth and courage to ourselves and to our friends.
Time has a way of soothing things that used to be so rough
The painful things that young men do, I cannot say enough.
Yes I was young and handsome then, (not like you see me now)
My uniform was pressed and clean, no wrinkles on my brow.
I know it’s hard my little son, but try to understand
Old men do not look soldierly, with bellies stout and firm.
Grandpas in a uniform are not the ladies men
We mumble, and we stumble and cannot be good for war.
Yet grandpas once were young and strong, (not like we are today)
And once we gave our youth away, to some forgotten fray.
My face is old, my hair is gray, my eyes are not so keen
But long ago this was not so, my actions were esteemed.
Whoever cares for old men’s fears, or what we’ve done and seen?
Yet bitterness is not my song, I merely wonder why
When ’er I think of younger days, and how my life passed by.
Was there a time in all the world young men never marched away
Or gathered to a place of death, in some forgotten fray?