Editor’s Note: The below piece was written by a Ranger who wishes to remain anonymous, who was moved to write after the recent spate of suicides in the Special Operations and Veteran communities.
Written by a Fellow Ranger
An empty chair standing still
An empty chair- absence filled
They’re missing soldiers off to war
Fighting enemies ne’er seen before
Shielded warriors- many come home
Proud of duties that they performed
Armor off, swords sheathed
Now it’s time to settle and breathe
Yet haunting thoughts come at night
Long lost friends fill my mind
Look around- yet no one knows
The things I’ve seen, and can’t expose
Even still most don’t understand
What it’s like to be there and back again
To serve so proud, to fight so hard.
To have this feeling of un-resolve.
Drinking deep calms my mind, drinking longer seals the bind.
Is it worth it- life so dear? What will it be like going from here?
Thinking longer – I cannot go on; to live this life – I’ve failed – not won.
Dishonoring thoughts fill the void, sadness looms -a devastating noise.
At the darkest point – I look and see – an empty chair at a table set before me.
A voice speaks out: “This place is for you.
Well done good man- I’ve seen all you do.
Rest your head, close your eyes
I will take care of these lies.
You served well- with all your might.
You fought hard, with no end in sight.
Now you’re back, but the war’s not done.
But if you so choose you can take your dreams and run.
Your service- a sacrifice- is all for your gain.
It was not time lost- it was not all in vain.
So go out good soldier and fight for your neighbor,
Fight for your city, your country, your Savior
One day I will call you, but not by your hand.
Right now you must trust my demands.
I demand your courage to keep moving on.
I demand your life to be lived – not to be shit on.
I demand your best, your talents, your strength
I demand all I have given you, you’ve never been faint
Your friends who are gone- they paid the price
Don’t trample their sacrifice – don’t throw away your life
Lift up your head, lift up your mind.
See all before you, all the blessings to find.
There is hope strong warrior, there is still so much in store.
Take your seat at my table
And know that you are cherished, admired, loved, adored.”