'Tis not the bit of bronze and metal,
That tells the time-worn tale,
Of some act of heroism
Where bullets whine and wail
Nor are the colored ribbons,
Pinned on some strutting chest,
Always truthful indicators,
Of the men who fought the best.
Nor do gold stripes upon the arm
Always tell the story,
Of men who have seen action
Or fought their way to glory.
These are outward indications
Made by the hand of man,
Way they're sometimes passed about,
Is hard to understand.
They will tarnish with the weather,
In the plush or on the shelf,
For the real and lasting medal,
Is the soul within yourself.
Did you do your best when called on,
In the air or torn shell-hole,
You've got some real satisfaction,
Buried deep within your soul.
No bit of bronze or ribbon bright,
Or words of praise high spoken,
Can change the thoughts that lie within,
They are the genuine tokens.
Telling the tale as long as you live,
And the truth of how you fought,
If you played the game with all you had,
You've the medal that can't be bought.