by former Ranger Johnny B.
So, you heard a Ranger died today
What a tragic waste, you said
That he should die in a foreign land
With so much of life ahead
He still had so much left to do
He was too young, you lament
Why should a man like him have to die
With so much of his life unspent?
Yes, it’s true, he was too young
And his death is a tragedy
But don’t you ever call it a waste
That is not for you to say
He was only in his twenties
While you’re in the middle of life
But I tell you that he lived more
As a result of all this strife
For have you ever leapt out of a plane
In the darkest hour of night
Or rode a Blackhawk into a fight
With your legs hanging over the side?
Did you ever creep outside
The enemy’s safehouse at night
With all your senses burning like fire
Did you ever feel quite so alive?
Did you ever feel the rush of assault
Of kicking down doors in the dark
And clearing a house from bottom to top
Have you ever had feelings so stark?
Did you ever hear the crack
Of a rifle round overhead
And laugh aloud to your buddies around
Because it wasn’t your time yet?
Did you ever weep at a brother’s death
And have his blood red on your hands
And know what it’s like to leave a part of yourself
Behind in some far foreign land?
Did you ever take the lessons you learned
And bring them back home to the States
And live the next months in a special way
“With a heart for any fate?”
Did you ever bike to the top
Of a forested mountain place
And ride to the bottom as fast as you could
With the wind bringing tears to your face?
Did you ever drink and joke and laugh
With a tugging wistfulness
And hold the memories of the times with your friends
And store them away just in case?
For just as one who’s never been cold
Can ever truly know heat
And just as one who’s never been hungry
Can ever truly taste what he eats
So you who have never known risk
Or danger or loss or fear
Can ever truly appreciate life
And hold every moment dear
So, yes, a Ranger died today
Join me in tears at his grave
But speak not about a wasted life
Or I’ll make you eat every word you say
For, yes, a Ranger died today
And it’s tragic his life should cease
But he lived more in his few years of war
Than you in your decades of peace
In memory of SGT William Patrick “Ricky” Rudd
KIA October 5th, 2008
Operation Iraqi Freedom
This first appeared in The Havok Journal March 28, 2014