I served two tours in Vietnam, one as an advisor to the 22d ARVN Infantry Division (MACV Team 22) '67-'68 and the second as a company commander in the Americal Division -- CO, C Co-1/52d Inf; Asst Bde S3, 198th Inf Bde (ran the Bde Tactical Opns Center[TOC]) '70-'71.

I retired from the Army in early 1981. A couple years later, having written several poems, I decided to write one about my retirement ceremony.

I appreciate what you folks are doing on your site and many thanks for providing this format for communication. After all those years of silence, it's nice to know somebody cares.

Lee Basnar

"A Soldier Retires"

A bugle sounds across the field;
The troops snap to attention.
A single soldier, face a shield,
But oh, so full of tension
Now stands alone.

They'll honor him, and shake his hand;
He's served his country well.
His own brigade and marching band,
Have come to bid farewell
To him alone.

His vision dims, and yesteryear
Is vividly revealed.
He hears the cannon, fights the fear
In far-off battlefields.
He feels alone.

Comrades-in-arms go marching by,
The living and the dead.
He reaches out to say goodbye -
They disappear instead.
He's still alone.

He sees the flag before his eyes,
He hears the "Spangled Banner."
His last salute will symbolize
His military manner.
He weeps alone.

"Pass in Review!" - and others too
Have lumps inside their throat.
He whispers, "Thanks," and bids adieu;
A tear drops to his coat,
But not alone.

"The Army Song", the final gun;
He's stood his last formation.
Retirees stop to say, "Well done,"
And, "Thank you from your nation."
He's NOT alone.

Copyright © 1982 By Lee Basnar, All Rights Reserved