I never wore the uniform,
no medals on my chest.
The band it doesn’t 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 you’ve not worn my shoes,
you do not know my story.
I live a life of sacrifice,
my reward a private glory.
I’ve wept many silent nights away,
and I’ve kept the home fires burning.
I’ve worried and I’ve waited,
as world events were churning.
I’ve moved more times than you could fathom,
left more people than you’ve known.
I’ve planted gardens ‘round the world –
Very few that I’ve seen grown.
I’ve 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.
I’m not asking for your sympathy,
(although appreciation can be nice)
I did it quite on purpose though –
I chose to sacrifice.
I’ll tell you a secret now,
one you’d never guess.
About the one glory that is mine,
it’s just enough - no more, no less.
When you and I stand together
as our national anthem plays,
I’ll fill with reminiscences
of how I spent those days.
I’ll know the pain and joys again,
I’ll know that freedom isn’t free,
I’ll know I’ve helped to pay the price …
and that the anthem plays for me.
By Elizabeth Soutter Schwarzer, Wife of a United States Marine