David R. “Poppa” Alexander


I was once young as many of you are;
I looked forward to getting my first car.
When I turned a mere eighteen,
Uncle Sam said “I want you” and on a poster he looked mighty and mean.

I left home a boy full of the thrill of adventure;
By the time I arrived I had second thoughts about this venture.
I worked hard to prove that I could do anything my dad had done,
But competing with my dad’s war record wasn’t any fun.

I was accepted to O.C.S.,
Not knowing that it was going to be such a test.
Was commissioned a young shave tail,
Never had a notion that I would fail.

Served for a time at Ft. Campbell –
Not knowing that my next assignment was going to be HELL:
Leaving home to go to Vietnam,
Land of the Cong and the land of the Damned.

I was no hero, although I did my best,
Some came home on their own, we grieve the rest.
Came home to a country we didn’t know anymore,
Where our countrymen called us baby killers and much, much more.

We had wounds, anger, and a sense of not belonging,
What happen to the country for which we had been longing?
Suffered thru the disrespect and Government lies,
Sometimes I think they won’t be happy till the last of us dies.

Tried to get help, we had been pledged, and earned by what we had been through,
Only to be told that the pledge was no longer an option, and we had nothing due.
Became angry and bitter now old men;
Some turned to whiskey, wine and gin.

You see we had a right to be treated with a little courtesy and respect;
Instead we received contempt, anger, rejection, and reject.
Not that we wanted to be handed the world on a silver platter,
But to heal the sick and hurting what would that little bit matter?

Now I’m an Old Soldier no longer of much use,
What would it have hurt to treat us better than yesterday’s refuse?
Now I contemplate the matter of my own death,
And don’t want to leave this world with a feeling of anger and regret.

Looks like there is only one thing left to fight for in this life –
My children, family, God, and my dear sweet wife.
They are the ones that stood by me through this Old Soldier's days;
Maybe I should have listened closer and had kinder ways.

Now that I can see my struggle is almost at an end,
Can I help some other Old Soldier that is traveling where I’ve already been?
Let me say you can get a lot of sympathy if you’re a mind to.
But in the end what all Old Soldiers want, is a little respect and what they are due.

I should be content just not to be a name on the Wall,
But I shouldn’t have to be content just not to be garbage in the hall.
Maybe we shouldn’t have expected a better handling,
But then again this is just an Old Soldier’s rambling.

The Lord has given me a small cross to bear;
When you consider his and not a whimper did we hear.
Maybe as I cross over to the other side,
I should just focus on the scares he suffered for me on his sides.