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Commemorating 1,600,000 Dead Battle VeteransDr. Phil Leveque Salem-News.com
Looking back at the U.S. sacrifice in war.
(MOLALLA, Ore.) - I had the honor to be asked to speak at an event observing the annual Memorial Day Holiday, and to address America's sacrifices during time of war.
I searched the Internet to learn the nitty gritty details about this tragic subject, checking Google for figures relating to deaths in all U.S. wars.
It was appalling, most were under 21 years old.
The United States has been involved in many wars and conflicts.
Most are familiar with these: The Revolution, The War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World War One, World War Two, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the first Gulf War and the two current wars, but there have been many other military deaths, some reported, some unreported, in many other conflicts.
It brought me back to Elegy for a Dogface Infantryman. I was barely able to read it. 'Dogface' is a term used to reference U.S. Army Combat Infantrymen, during World War Two, the term was used widely.
Reading these figures brought back too many bad memories. I was earning about ONE DOLLAR per day in the mud, rain and snow.
I was that which others did not want to be.
I was that which others could never be.
I went where others would never go.
I kept going when others turned back.
I asked nothing from those who gave nothing.
I reluctantly accepted the fear of eternal hell…if I failed.
I have seen the anguished face of raw terror.
I have felt the biting freezing cold of absolute fear.
I have also enjoyed the honey sweet taste of a moment of love.
I have cried in unrelenting pain.
I have cried in deep lonely anguish.
I have cried empty tears of dying hope.
I have survived without hope…but most of all,
I know not why, but…
I’m alive. Others are not.
I have died a thousand times and lived one more.
I have lived lives best forgotten strangers say, but…
I am at last proud to say:
“I WAS A DOGFACE”
By Phil Leveque Modified from copy by George L. Spypeck
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