The Final Inspection

The soldier stood and faced God,
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining,
Just as brightly as his brass.

"Step forward now, you soldier,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To my church have you been true?"

The soldier squared his shoulders and
said, "No lord, I guess I ain't,
Because those of us who carry guns
Can't always be a saint."

I've had to work most Sundays,
And at times my talk was tough,
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully tough.

But I never took a penny
That wasn't mine to keep ...
Though I worked a lot of overtime
When the bills got just too steep.

And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at time I shook with fear,
And sometimes, God forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place
Among the people here,
They never wanted me around
Except to calm their fears.

If you've a place for me here, Lord,
It needn't be so grand,
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't, I'll understand.

There was a silence all around the throne,
Where the saints had often trod,
As the soldier waited quietly,
For the judgement of his God.

"Step forward now, you soldier,
You've born your burdens well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in Hell

Reprinted with permission of the Author:
Sgt Joshua Helterbran, AUS
veteran of the Iraq War,
formerly of with HHC 224th Engineering Battalion,
Fort Sill, Oklahoma
and now of Birmingham, Iowa.
Submitted by Dennis Burk, D/2/7 Korea, 5/51 - 9/51

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