I never wore the uniform,
no medals on my chest.
The band it doesnt play for me,
I am not among the Best.
I do not march in cadence,
I do not rate salute,
I stand among the silent ranks,
our devotion absolute.
If youve not worn my shoes,
you do not know my story.
I live a life of sacrifice,
my reward a private glory.
Ive wept many silent nights away,
and Ive kept the home fires burning.
Ive worried and Ive waited,
as world events were churning.
Ive moved more times than you could fathom,
left more people than youve known.
Ive planted gardens round the world --
Very few that Ive seen grown.
Ive grieved with new-made widows,
and had my share of scares --
when a ship or plane or man was down,
and all I had were prayers.
Im not asking for your sympathy,
(although appreciation can be nice)
I did it quite on purpose though --
I chose to sacrifice.
Ill tell you a secret now,
one youd never guess.
About the one glory that is mine,
its just enough no more, no less.
When you and I stand together
as our national anthem plays,
Ill fill with reminiscences
of how I spent those days.
Ill know the pain and joys again,
Ill know that freedom isnt free,
Ill know Ive helped to pay the price
and that the anthem plays for me.
Elizabeth Soutter Schwarzer
Wife of a United States Marine