Letter's Home - A Tribute to the 1st Infantry Division


They call us ground pounders, grunts, 

bullet-catchers, epithet the bloody first

but we're Warriors, deployed into battle zones

on unforgivable terrain, to keep you free


digging a trench or perimeter bunker on

foreign dirt, hard as rocks, slimy-mud or 

scalding sand, tirelessly we dig-in filling bags 

by pick and shovel or by strong aching hands


with mortars raining, rifles blazing, grenades blasting 

we fight long and hard, the enemy keeps coming

from afar, victorious, we find rare moments of battle rest, 

when we wearily write a few words in a letter home


days on end we hump, carrying sweat soaked 

note paper in our soiled fatigue pocket, often

stained with our brothers’ blood, until a pause 

in fighting brings relief time to write love and lies


often untruths, that we'll stay alive and be alright

we scribble our words to loved ones back home, 

hoping our letter finds its way to them, someday, 

but often not, or buddy delivered posthumously


we will be the first to give our life to keep you free,

to save democracy, into battle we headlong run

to secure our homeland, and we never forget the fallen

we're the proud American Soldiers of the Big Red One.


by Dale Ray Andrews - copyright 2019


Medic, 1st-ID/Vietnam 1967-68