A Tribute to Soldiers


To the brave, the strong and the free:



Mark R. Carpan


My name is Mark R. Carpan and I live in the city of Calgary near the beautiful foothills and mountains of southern Alberta. I am married 13 lucky years to a lovely Texas gal named Chandra, and together we are raising our three children: Roderick, Gregory and Samara. All of our children are US citizens born abroad. On top of being a died-in-the-wool Canuck, I am part American, too: my Great, Great, Great Uncle was Rutherford Hayes, 19th President of the United States (1877-1881).


I come from a long family line of military blood dating back to the first World War (at least as far as we can track - maybe further back than that). My great grandfather fought in WWI. My grandfather helped storm the beaches of Normandy during WWII, was wounded and taken as a POW. My dad served in the military, being deployed on several peace keeping missions during his tour of duty. And now my brother serves in the Air Force, as he has done for almost twenty years.


I never served (please don't hold that against me). Trust me when I say that this military "thing" runs thick in our gene pool. You only have to check the history to confirm that.


I won't bore you with more details, but I wanted to share something with you - something that happened last November. I felt an urge to do something based on research I was doing for a WWI novel I'm writing (that gene pool thing bubbling inside, I guess). Through course of reading and watching documentaries of the Great War, a sense of duty spawned in me. The research began to reveal the true meaning of sacrifice. I felt an urge to give back. The novel I'm producing is one method, but I wanted to reach out to those serving now.


Maybe it's a silly gesture but, either way, I felt compelled to write the troops. My brother, of course, didn't think it was silly since he served over seas and knew the value of any morale boosting media, especially when cut off from his family for months at a shot.


Anyway, I started writing short poems and messages on the boards. I would take 5 or 10 minutes over lunch and post them on the message boards for the troops. It seemed a small price considering that what those men and women give is truly priceless and selfless. I will continue to post as long as the sites will continue to let me.





Dec.08/04 - US posting Jan.17/05

To the brave, the strong and the free:


"When you sit and stare at the heartless face of a door or a peril so unmoving;
When you tire and weep and go without sleep, and your efforts seem vapid with burden;
I want you to know that when you're alone, and all you perform seems so thankless;
By freedom from one to freedom for all, your sacrifice will be most blessed."


Dec.09/04 - US posting Jan.18/05
To the brave, the strong and the free:


What have I ever done for you? Men and women of the frontlines, the wars - soldiers of strength;
What have I ever done for you? Heroes who count your blessings by the scars of your own personal sacrifice;
What have I ever done for you? Faceless champions of the most noble of causes, bearers of your own anguish;
What have I ever done for you? You who carry the burden of your brothers, sisters, burdens of your nation, burdens of your world.


Jan. 19/05
To the brave, the strong and the free:

---The Flag---


I saw upon a damaged post this tattered, broken flag;
And suddenly it dawned on me the freedoms that I had.
It was the flag that others saw some years before my sight;
that flag jumped and spoke to me and beckoned me to write.

It was a simple symbol, there floating in the sky;
It spoke of heroes, courage, grit and those who fought and died.
It bannered up a sense of pride from deep within my soul;
The memories of soldiers, cut down before them told.

How can we start to speculate on dreams their hope endowed;
But when I saw that flag so proud I realized then how.
That as we watch and see the flag, a beacon for our eyes;
Their dreams have then reflected back and grown within our lives.


Dec.15/04 - US Posting Jan.20/05
To the brave, the strong and the free:

---The Difference---


Whoever said it didn't matter? Whoever said you won't make a difference?
You matter to those you left behind. You matter to us, whose country you left with tears at the dock;
You matter to those who marched before you. You matter to those who'll come up behind;
You matter to those whose freedoms you protect. You matter to those whose lives you saved;
You matter to those you've never met. You matter to those yet unborn.
You matter me.


Dec.17/04 - US Posting Jan.21/05
To the brave, the strong and the free:

---My personal wish for you all---


That you dream of their warmth, and their loving embrace;
That you feel their warm touch and kiss on your face.
That the promise of hope, good will and good cheer;
Will bring you your wishes of comfort this year.

As I sit by the fire, together with kin;
And wait for great joy as the new year begins.
I'll think of you one, and think of you all;
And consider your dreams, however so tall.

And somewhere up in the sky up above;
Go find you a star that's smothered with love.
It's the one you first saw, and with it me, too;
The one that your cherished saw thinking of you.

They're thinking of you and you back to them;
They're thinking while sitting there gathered with friends.
It's so hard to face, it's so hard to bare;
So empty when still you cannot be there.

May you be together soon.


Dec.16/04 - US Posting Jan.25/05
To the brave, the strong and the free:

---Did We Forget?---


Was it peace we wanted? Is it gained by brush stroke or by trivial verbiage? Yet, you stand steadfast without a spoken word;

Did we ever count the cost or was it some pie-in-the-sky notion, reward without sacrifice? Your sacrifice;
Don't we remember that we are merely beneficiaries by someone else's loss? Your loss;
Did we forget what has been previously lost and what is still being given? You who have given all and still give more.


Dec.13/04 - US Posting Jan.26/05
To the brave, the strong and the free:



He was sick, he was.
What once was so solid, unmovable and strong, now only a shadow of what I remembered him as;
A veteran of the second war, his blood flowed in me. But I couldn't understand his pain;
I made a card everyday for him while he was in the hospital. Faithfully my mother sent them off. By dozens, they went off;

By dozens, they fell - comrades on the beaches he stormed. Until he, too, fell;
He was sick, he was; but he was strong, he was.


Jan. 27/05
To the brave, the strong and the free:

---The Goblet---


Buried in the desert, a goblet caught the sun;
Reflected hues and rays of light and ghosts of battles won.
A dry and crusted stain inside, the remnants of a wine;
The grapes of wrath, blood of saints, soldiers poured in their prime.

We're forced to drink upon this cup and with it will be stilled;
Unquenchable, though, this goblet is, it never will be filled.
So do not drink in vain, my friends, or we may bear the price;
History will pour herself again, a stiff drink chilled with ice.


Dec.10/04 - US Posting Jan.28/05
To the brave, the strong and the free:

---The Poppy---


I wore a poppy, so bright on display.
But deferred my stat, like some other day;
I wore a poppy, for people to see.
11AM? Where'd the day go? It's already 3!
I wore a poppy, like all of my chums.
Then decided to read where that poppy came from;
I wore a poppy, I read and I read.
I couldn't rid shame filling up in my head;

I took off my poppy, and put it aside.
And instead told my kids 'bout the soldiers who died.



Copyright Mark R. Carpan, All Rights Reserved