Posted: June 2, 2004
As it Appeared on Tarzana Joe's Official Web Page following the tournament -- May 13, 2004
Nightly, America tunes in to see Reality TV. Which of seventeen stunning women will the rich, handsome young man choose? And here's the twist, one of the women is secretly (a) an alien (b) a nun (c) his sister. Take your pick.
On the evening of May 11, 2004, I was privileged to see a different kind of reality. I was a guest at the 2nd Annual "Frog Friends" Golf Tournament. The tournament was a fundraiser for the organization which supports the families of Special Operations Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines who have given their lives in the war on terrorism. It was on this event, and the dinner that followed, that the networks should have focused their cameras. Had they done so, more of America would have learned that the families of lost heroes are not always cared for by the government. More of America would have learned, from front line soldiers, about the character of the enemy we are facing. More of America would have come to understand that we really are at war and the stakes now are higher than they have ever been.
It was clearer to me than it ever has been before, that the next election is not about taxes or affirmative action or who controls the artic wildlife refuge. It is about survival--survival of a unique and magnificent way of life that is the envy of the world--a way of life that was purchased by the blood of the Greatest Generation and is now being defended by the amazing men I met that night.
I wish you could have met them too. An active duty Navy Seal just returned from Iraq who started the organization to help the wife of one fallen friend. The businessman who became his partner in an effort to reach out to more families in need. The teenager from the former Soviet Union who donated her artwork. The young woman who organized the evening like a Major-General. An entire Chamber of Commerce of men and women offering themselves and their businesses in thanks and support.
Then there are the wives-the widows. Full of life and youth, it is hard to image how any man could be able to leave them for a long weekend, let alone a tour of duty overseas. We all came together that night to let them know that they are loved, they are understood, and they are appreciated.
To that end, I was asked to write a poem for the event. Many of you have heard a poem called "A Soldier's Wife" and I have read it several times on Hugh's show. Let me remind you with a little of it now.
Yes, hers could have been a glittering path
Through a careless, care-free life
But she fell in love with a soldier
So she became a soldier's wife.
Away from the home of her childhood
She marched at her husband's side
For she chose a wide and winding road
When she became a soldier's bride.
She learned to build a hearth for them
Wherever he man was sent
And she knelt to plant a garden
Every time he pitched their tent.
Yes, she'd always plant a garden
Though she never saw it grow
For she knew before the flowers came
That she would have to go.
She raised a soldier's family
With faith her love had taught her
And she gave the pride she had inside
To her son and to her daughter.
And she never wished for better
Than the road she marched through live
Because she was as much a soldier
As she was a soldier's wife.
The internet sites where I have seen this poem say "Author Unknown" and I think that's an injustice. I want to thank the writer. But I also think the poem only tells half of the story. And so my poem is
On the road he had to travel
Over hill and over dale
He yearned for a companion
One whose love would never fail.
So the soldier kept surveillance
With his shining soldier's eyes
Till that moment when he saw you
Still, it caught him by surprise.
And he took you as a partner
On that quest that burned inside
And to have you there beside him
Gave him peace and gave him pride.
Though he never said it often
(He was not that kind of guy)
He got up every morning
And he blessed you to the sky.
And though it didn't seem likely
That your love could grow much more
Somehow he held you closer
Through the children that you bore.
Oh, how hard it was to leave you
Just how hard you'll never know
But the morning brought his orders
And he simply had to go.
And the thing that kept him going
The fire that in him burned
Was a vision of your smile
And your face when he returned.
Every man is given choices
By the Father and the Son
A life long and uneventful
Or a short and glorious one.
And the ones who chose the latter
At the risk that they might fall
Are the guardians of freedom
And defend that choice for all.
So the soldier met his mission
The soldier did his part
And from the field of battle
God took him to his heart.
Now he's standing in that garden
That garden that you made
And he feels you in the sunlight
And the coolness of the shade.
Though he misses you like morning
And because his soul is just
He gives you his permission
To forget him when you must.
For he wants his sons and daughters
To have all the world can give
And the mission of the living
Is to march ahead and live.
He lived life to its limit
He did what he had to do
And he gives this last commission
Yes, he needed a companion
For he knew that war is hell
The soldier, he chose wisely
The soldier, he chose well.
Near the end of the evening, I was handed a lyric by Rita and Wayne Jett. Below, with their permission, is just a part of their song. It summed up exactly what I was feeling. This, my friends, is reality...
THIS PRIMORDIAL CRY
Intensive reflection has not yielded answers
To life's deepest questions that keep me from rest
The life I am living was given by others,
Can this be fair when I'm called to attest?
Oh Lord! This primordial cry
Asks how that young soldier
Was chosen to die.
Dear God! How can it be fair
That I'm standing here
And he's lying there?
He who has given his last full rendition
Has found final peace as he hoped he could win
Now he may rightly be viewed as the victor,
And those of us left must be worthy of him.
(c) 1991 by Wayne Jett and Rita Jett (Lyrics and Music)
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God bless America and God bless the men and women of our Armed Forces.