David R. “Poppa” Alexander


On a clear warm morning you can hear every sound,
On this clear warm morning, Charlie ate his meal,
We were moving slowly, our ears to the ground,
And on this morning, Charlie’s fate was sealed.

We came upon the clearing, not knowing what we might learn,
Slowly we crept toward the elephant grass,
Hearts in our throats, we moved to the point of no return.
Our mind was on one objective that was to save our own ass.

Spread out came the word, there is movement up ahead,
Take cover, keep your ears open and your mind on the objective,
Remember your training and you might not end up dead,
We came here to kill Charlie that was our directive.

This morning like so many others is just an image in my head,
I wonder if Charlie had the same objective?
I wonder if he thought he would be dead.
You could bet he had the same directive.

Kill or be killed that was what was said,
Charlie, can you hear us moving toward your site?
If you hesitate then you’re dead,
Charlie, I don’t know who is right.

My country sent me, I didn’t ask to come,
To rid the country of the Communist, that was the trick,
I’m sure you had rather be home with your wife and son,
To kill another somehow now makes me sick.

We found Charlie, lying there on the dusty ground,
A half eaten portion of rice and a old rusty gun,
He had a picture of his family lying on the ground,
I picked the picture up and wanted to turn and run.

You see, Charlie was just a soldier, just like you and me,
He was sent to do a job, and no one told him why,
He was a little slower than I was and I HAD to shoot don’t you see?
Why was it necessary that this father, husband, son had to die?

Our government sent us, not telling us much you see,
We were given orders, and the enemy we didn’t know,
His government did the same and he had to obey just like me.
But after all these years, I wonder if his family ever wonders.
I wonder if they know.