Sunday, November 11, 2007

To All My Brothers of the Blue Cord and Crossed Rifles

I dedicate this poem to all my brothers at arms, living and dead, who have served and fought in the brotherhood of the crossed rifles and the blue cord of the Infantry. It somehow seems appropriate to give them honor on the eve of this Veteran's Day. I don’t know who wrote this, but I can just about bet he was a Grunt (See Note). I post this with my mind on my comrades around the globe. Those who patrol those dangerous places while we sleep, hold that piece of ground they stand on, steadfast, against an enemy that would take our freedom from us. Freedom ain’t free and it comes at a great cost. God bless those that are willing to make these sacrifices for us. I salute you.

“I Am The Infantry”

I am the Infantry–
Queen of Battle!
For two centuries I have kept our Nation safe,
Purchasing freedom with my blood.
To tyrants,
I am the day of reckoning;
to the oppressed,
the hope for the future.
Where the fighting is thick,
there am I…
I am the Infantry!

I was there from the beginning,
meeting the enemy face to face,
will to will.
My bleeding feet stained the snow at Valley Forge;
my frozen hands pulled Washington across the Delaware.
At Yorktown,
the sunlight glinted from the sword
and I begrimed…
Saw a Nation born.
Hardship…And glory
I have known.
At New Orleans,
I fought beyond the hostile hour,
showed the fury of my long rifle…
and came of age.
I am the Infantry!

Westward I pushed with wagon trains…
moved an empire across the plains…
extended freedom’s borders
and tamed the wild frontier.
I am the Infantry!

I was with Scott at Vera Cruz…
Hunted the guerilla in the mountain passes…
and scaled the high plateau.
The fighting was done
when I ended my march
many miles
from the old Alamo.
From Bull Run to Appomattox,
I fought and bled.
Both Blue and Gray
were my colors then.
Two masters I served
and united them strong…
proved that this nation
could right a wrong…
and long endure.
I am the Infantry!

I led the charge up San Juan Hill…
scaled the walls of old Tientsin…
and stalked the Moro
in the steaming jungle still…
always the vanguard,
I am the Infantry!

At Chateau-Thierry,
first over the top,
then I stood like a rock on the Marne.
It was I who cracked the Hindenburg Line…
in the Argonne,
I broke the Kaiser’s spine…
and didn’t come back ’till it was “over,
over there.”
I am the Infantry!

A generation older at Bataan,
I briefly bowed,
but then I vowed to return.
Assaulted the African shore…
learned my lesson the hard way
in the desert sands…
pressed my buttons into the beach at Anzio…
and bounced into Rome
with determination and resolve.
I am the Infantry!

The English channel,
stout beach defenses
and the hedgerows
could not hold me…
I broke out at St. Lo,
unbent the Bulge…
vaulted the Rhine…
and swarmed the Heartland.
Hitler’s dream
and the Third Reich were dead.

In the Pacific,
from island to island…
hit the beaches
and chopped through
swamp and jungle…
I set the Rising Sun.
I am the Infantry!

In Korea,
I gathered my strenght
around Pusan…
swept across the frozen Han…
outflanked the Reds at Inchon…
and marched to the Yalu.

In Vietnam,
while others turned aside,
I fought the longest fight,
from the Central Highlands
to the South China Sea
I patrolled the jungle,
the paddies and the sky
in the bitter test
that belongs to the Infantry.

Around the world,
I stand…
ever forward.
Over Lebanon’s sands,
my rifle steady aimed…
and calm returned.
At Berlin’s gates,
I scorned the Wall of Shame.
I spanned the Caribbean
in freedom’s cause,
answered humanity’s call.
I trod the streets of Santo Domingo
to protect the innocent.
In Grenada,
I jumped at Salinas,
and proclaimed freedom for all.
My arms set a Panamanian dictator to flight
and once more raised democracy’s flag.
In the Persian Gulf,
I drew the line in the desert,
called the tyrant’s bluff
and restored right
and freedom in 100 hours.
Duty called,
I answered.
I am the Infantry!

My bayonet…
on the wings of power…
keeps the peace worldwide.
And despots,
falsely garbed in freedom’s mantle,
My ally in the paddies and the forest..
I teach,
I aid,
I lead.

Where brave men fight…
there fight I.
In freedom’s cause…
I live,
I die.
From Concord Bridge to Heartbreak Ridge,
from the Arctic to the Mekong,
to the Caribbean…
the Queen of Battle!
Always ready…
and forever.

I am the Infantry!

I dream of the day when armies will no longer be needed. What a waste of the best the world has to offer. No one wins a war, the whole world suffers because of it.

“When the power of Love, overcomes the love of Power, then and only then will we have Peace.”


NOTE: Since first posting this last November, I have found out the lineage of the poem:

“I am the Infantry” was written in 1955 by LTC Stephen H. White, a former editor of Infantry Magazine. The epic poem is an adaptation of a similar poem titled
“I am the Guard”, the original manuscript, of which, was discovered by LTC White in the archives of the Information Section of the National Guard Bureau in Washington. Unfortunately the author of the original is unknown.

The infantry version was first published in the July 1956 issue of Infantry Magazine. It was later revised to it’s present form by LTC White, assisted by Col. Francis X Bradley and SP4 Howard Webber. After revision of the text, the art work surrounding the poem was added by SP4 Joseph Giordano. In July 1959, the new version along with it’s illustrative border was published on the back cover of the July-September issue of Infantry Magazine.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Mike,

That was Jimi Hendrix that made that quote.

Will Cumberland
Cherokee, NC

Ft. Benning, GA 91-92
Appalachian Trail, 1995