We’re getting a lot better in America about honoring our military, putting aside arguments about wars. That should be our intentional behavior every day. But at least on Veteran’s Day, we go all out to recognize the sacrifice they and their families have made and the service they continue all their lives in the public witness of nobility and respect for duty.

It’s great to see Vietnam veterans finally getting respect they always deserved. The Wall is an ongoing honor to those who gave it all, and a healing monument for those who still carry the wounds.

People are finding ways to thank troops and veterans in small groups and large organizations. There are inspiring projects like the Honor Flight for “our heroes,” and their stories of gratitude for such a tribute are outstanding.

And there are extraordinary campaigns like Honor and Remember taking the effort across the country “to establish a tangible national symbol of gratitude, as a visible public reminder to all Americans,” of all the military who served and sacrificed for the nation.

Fr. John Corapi, popular speaker who incorporates his military training and insights into countless inspiring talks across the country, sent out this poem in his newsletter today. He asks his friends to pass it on.

THE FINAL INSPECTION

The Soldier stood and faced God,
 Which must always come to pass.
 He hoped his shoes were shining,
 Just as brightly as his brass..

  Step forward now, Soldier,
 How shall I deal with you?
 Have you always turned the other cheek?
 To My Church have you been true?’
The soldier squared his shoulders and said,
 No, Lord, I guess I ain’t.
 Because those of us who carry guns,
 Can’t always be a saint.

  I’ve had to work most Sundays,
 And at times my talk was tough.
 And sometimes I’ve been violent,
 Because the world is awfully rough.

  But, I never took a penny,
That wasn’t mine to keep…
Though I worked a lot of overtime,
 When the bills got just too steep.

  And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear..
And sometimes, God, forgive me,
 I’ve wept unmanly tears.

  I know I don’t deserve a place,
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around,
 Except to calm their fears

  If you’ve a place for me here, Lord,
It needn’t be so grand.
I never expected or had too much,
 But if you don’t, I’ll understand.

  There was a silence all around the throne,
Where the saints had often trod.
As the Soldier waited quietly,
 For the judgment of his God.

  Step forward now, you Soldier,
You’ve borne your burdens well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven’s streets,
 You’ve done your time in Hell.’

  Author Unknown~

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....