Our Soldiers Have Names

Frank C. Bergman, Served in the US Navy
Frank C. Bergman, Served in the US Navy | Source


My father served in the Air Force for over twenty years.

I had an uncle, a brother, who served in the Navy, the Army.

I grew up listening to planes take off and land, night and day.

Fatigue green, saluting officers, chain of command, dress blues.


I wore an MIA bracelet for three years, high school and college,

And could not understand why so few people wore them.

That was a long time ago….

Frank Bergman's Mother
Frank Bergman's Mother | Source


America has engaged in wars since then, is fighting right now.

There are men and women still coming home in caskets,

still coming home with grievous wounds, we all know that.


I do my part, donate to the vets, write letters, send care packages,

angrily sign petitions demanding that our soldiers, who train,

leave family behind, fight and bleed, even die for our country –

receive the best medical care our country can provide.

Frank Bergman's Father
Frank Bergman's Father | Source


Frequently, I forward pictures of our soldiers.

Yesterday I forwarded an intensely moving picture.

A man kneeling next to a veteran in a wheelchair,

thanking him for his courage, his service.

I shared it with friends and family.


In moments, a friend, her husband a retired Army officer,

wrote back; they knew the soldier in the wheelchair.

She knew his name, his history, they were colleagues and friends.

Suddenly, tears poured down my face.

The man became real to me . . . as my friend’s friend.

One Side of Frank's Extended Family
One Side of Frank's Extended Family | Source


We forget, I forget, that these soldiers served alongside other soldiers.

To me they are certainly heroes and patriots and I honor them…

but to those who know them, they are dear friends and trusted buddies.

They are not isolated individuals, but members of families, of communities,

with mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, wives and children.


Our memories of who they are, their service, their sacrifice,

their lives, before and after, need to be so much more specific.

We should all know, really know, who we grieve for and who we honor.


Theresa Lynn Ast

August 2013

More by this Author


Your Comments are Welcome and Appreciated 47 comments

Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

Yes, they most certainly do! God bless you for this beautiful write here. So very touching. My dad served in the U.S. Army and fought in two wars, yes, I call them wars, as I heard him suffering with PTSD as a child and they were certainly not just conflicts, from what my ears heard!

It does break my heart for all of the young men still today and their families who have paid the highest price for freedom.

God bless them all. Let us never forget.

Voted up ++++ and sharing

Hugs, Faith Reaper


travmaj profile image

travmaj 3 years ago from australia

Well said Theresa - we often just label people without recognising the contribution, the families behind them, the colleagues. My story goes back to ww1 - my g grandfather drowned on a troop ship - The Arcadian. There were other vessels in the area and survivors but he didn't make it - when I saw a photo of the boat sinking (courtesy Brit Imperial museum) plus the telegram Grandma received it really hit home. His son at home, his wife, I must get around to writing about it all!


BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

They did have names and were real people with families and loves. Thank you for the reminder.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Good Morning Faith. Congress and the president calling them conflicts, instead of wars. is such a political game. Using euphemisms doesn't change what your dad and thousands of other men have gone through. And the suffering from PTSD has been, and still is, enormous. We will at least remember the price they have paid and encourage others too as well. Thank you for all the votes and sharing. Blessings! Theresa


Marcia Ours 3 years ago

A touching tribute!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you Marcia. They deserve so much more, it seemed it was the least I could do. Hope all is well. Theresa


Curiad profile image

Curiad 3 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

Well said Theresa, the cost to humanity is enormous.


wayne barrett profile image

wayne barrett 3 years ago from Clearwater Florida

Very honorable tribute Theresa. I also served in the Navy and Army. Two Honorable Discharges.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you for serving your country, and by extension -- all of us, twice, Wayne. Your country owes you respect and appreciation. Theresa


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York

A more than fitting tribute. We should never forget, then, now or in the future. Those that serve us should always be in our thoughts and prayers. Nicely done.

Voted up, awesome, and interesting.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello travmaj - The families are so important and so often forgotten - they agonize and suffer right along with their loved ones. How tragic about your grandfather, but how amazing that you ot to see the photograph and the telegram. You definitely should write about it. What a story from World War I. Blessings. Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

You are so very welcome Blossom. They certainly do deserve remembering, don't they? Hope al is well and thank you for stopping by to read and comment. Theresa


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 3 years ago from Riga, Latvia

Voted up and awesome. A very fitting tribute and you are so right we should know so much more about our heroes.


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

Every face has a name, a life, and is very real. This is a wonderful piece.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Mark- The cost is endeed great and tragic. Thank you for coming by and commenting. I hope things are well with you. Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you Mary. We should do a much better job of remembering them and their families. I need reminders, because I need to work on it as well. Thanks for the votes and comments. Hope you arehaving a great week. Theresa


Hollis96052 profile image

Hollis96052 3 years ago

In Dr. Graham Johnson's honors reading room, we are reading "Collapse" by Jared Diamond. In that, he asks about who the individuals were in the societies that failed, especially the ones that resulted in many deaths. I think this is why history haunts me at times. I am always empathetic to the point that I start feeling sorry for the people-good and bad- and constantly wonder what it is like and what was going through their heads.

Sometimes I forget to look at people objectively. This is also the reason I decided against psychology.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Good Morning Gypsy. It makes such a difference in how we feel and respond when we know more about people. I guess that applies to everyone, including our fighting men and women. Thank you for dropping by and for your votes and comments. I hope you are having a great week. Theresa


Sueswan 3 years ago

Hi Theresa,

A beautiful and heartfelt and very moving tribute to those who fight for their country. I pray that the day will come soon when war will become obsolete.

Hope you are doing well my friend. I was in Memphis last week. Had a great time at Elvis week.

Voted up+++

Take care

Sue


MG Singh profile image

MG Singh 3 years ago from Singapore

As a soldier I appreciate what you have written. Well done


jhamann profile image

jhamann 3 years ago from Reno NV

Teresa this is incredible, I was really moved by this poem, I love your poetry. Jamie


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you avian. I really appreciate and value your encouraging comments. I was surprised at my own reactin and how it changed and became deeper when I could see the man as a wounded vet, but also as a man with real connections to people I know. I hope you have had a good week. Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Dallas - History can be very haunting. I think most students of history struggle between too much subjectivity or exclusive objectivity. Neither makes for a very good historian. And when it comes to "empathy" I have always believed too much (if there even is such a thing) is far better than too little. I can certainly see why you decided Psychology might not be a good fit - there is such an emphasis on objectivity in that discipline. Hope your first week has gone well. :)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you MG Singh. A comment from a soldier is especially appreciated. Thank you for your service. And I hope all is well with you. Theresa


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 3 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

When I grew up the military were treated as heroes. Since Viet Nam they have not been treated as well. The country and its representatives should think a bit about the soldiers before getting involved in conflicts.Will the sacrifices be worth it?


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Sue - Good to hear from you and see your smiling face. I have been pretty overwhelmed this summer and have not spent as much time on HP as I would like. But school has started and I am doing well. You were in Me,phis last week. Almost my back yard. :) I am sure you had a wonderful time. Thank you for commenting and voting. Blessings! Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Why, thank you Jaimie. You are always kind and generous. I am glad the poem was moving, The realization that a friend of mine knew the soldier was quite moving to me. Thank you for loving my poetry. I came to it so late in life (57) that I am rather insecure about it. I think I know what is good and what isn't...but then again, I am not sure. :) Hope the family and the newest little one are doing well. Blessings. Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

dahoglund - Thank you for commenting. Sorry it took me awhile to respond. I was away from home and the nearest Wi-Fi hub was at a Walmart 10 miles away. :) I hope you are doing well. Theresa


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

Theresa, this is a wonderful tribute, how soon we forget the sacrifices they made, are still making.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Jo- That is so true. It seems to be part of our nature to quickly forget those who make great sacrifices. I am sure a psychologist would have something to say about it, but for me it is simply a great sadness when so many who gave , and are giving, so much get so little appreciation in return. Hope all things are well with you. Theresa


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

And today, they all volunteer. Someone on HP recently commented, "Well they signed up for this war." That doesn't excuse us not appreciating their sacrifices and the sacrifices of their families. In fact, all the more reason to stand in awe of someone who says, Sleep well tonight. I'll stand the watch.

Wayne Barrett: Thank you for your and your family's service. We can't say thank you enough.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Kathleen - So puzzling to me that someone thinks volunteer status/service should negate appreciation of their sacrifice. What a bizarre and cold-hearted way to perceive the sacrifice of another. We should indeed stand in awe and honor their efforts. Sincerest thanks to Wayne Barret and the many others who have served, and are still serving.


gregas profile image

gregas 3 years ago from Corona, California.

To be a volenteer should be more appreciated than someone that was drafted. Greg


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Greg - You are absolutely right. Most of us have it backwards, if we think about it at all, which is a shame. Thank you for reading an commenting. Blessings. Theresa


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

When the loss is close to home and heart most wonder how the world can simply go on as if nothing happened. Some want to openly rage and/or take action, others want to quietly hold the grief for it's all they have left of their irreplaceable loved one.

Thank you for pointing out that each of our fallen soldiers are individuals with names who banded with a group to try to make a difference in the world's conflicts. Two sites that can help us remember them by name are as follows:

http://projects.militarytimes.com/valor/

http://www.fallenheroesproject.org/


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 3 years ago from California

This piece makes me sad on many levels. I am a pacifist and so opposed to violence of all kinds, including war. But I am also deeply troubled by how we treat our returning veterans. Violence on the level of war forever changes a person. To kill at that level has lifelong repercussions for the one who has killed--and our veterans services somehow expect that one can just buck up and get over one's PTSD, or depression, or anger.

I am deeply saddened by that.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello RT - I cannot imagine how people recover from such losses. They are individuals, and we do need to think of them that way, Thank you for the sites. I appreciate the information. I hope that things are well with you. Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Audrey -

I think you have found the perfect balance. You are a pacifist, but knowing that wars continue and our young men are sent overseas to fight, and sometimes die...you are equally concerned for their health and future well-being, as we all should be. There is far too little care and support for the men and women who have experienced shattering events that will be with them forever. American can and should do better by its soldiers. It is a shame and terribly sad. Thank you for reading and commenting. Theresa


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

Hi Theresa, another exceptional write! War is one of those things we want to sweep under the carpet and forget about it, just make it go away. Unfortunately; for some, it just isn't possible.

Too many have paid the ultimate price, many are still paying, including the families who are left behind. And yes, they all have names and we must remember.

This time of the year is such a poignant reminder, as Remembrance Day approaches. My husband is ex-forces, I may have mention this before, I always know when he is thinking about all the old friends who did not make it home, and those who did, but took their own lives and a lot did. Thank you for sharing this. My very best to you always.

Jo.


JPSO138 profile image

JPSO138 3 years ago from Cebu, Philippines, International

This would come out as a wonderful tribute to the people who provided us liberty and freedom. There are many more out there who we do not know and perhaps we will never know who did the ultimate sacrifice to provide us the very essence of freedom and we are enjoying today....

Great hub and up for this one!


pmorries profile image

pmorries 3 years ago from Golden, CO

I think that war has almost become too easy (not to the families or participants). We see a few seconds of footage on television (sometimes not even that), and then worry if we will be able to hit all of the Black Friday sales that are on our lists.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you JPSO for your encouraging comments. Happy Thanksgiving!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Patrick - You are right...our society has it backwards. We focus on things that matter so little --shopping -- and neglect the things that really matter -- honoring and caring for our service men and women.

Blessings and Happy Thanksgiving! Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you Jo. Sorry for taking soooo long to respond. It is a terrible thing that so many of us do not appreciate or honor their great sacrifice. Please tell your husband that I said thank you for his service to his country.

Hope you have a safe and happy Thanksgiving. Theresa


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Rereading this, I have to add:

The soldier I've lived with for 38 years is named Don. He served in high school ROTC, as a cadet at West Point, for 20 years active duty in the Infantry (was awarded the Bronze Star for service in Desert Storm), and worked for the past 10 years as a military contractor (and not from a cushy office stateside but from places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, and Qutar.) Say what you like about contractors (and the movies love to make them the bad guys these days) but we could not have done the two wars we've done in the past decade without their support of our smallest military since before WWII.

I also have to name our friend, Greg Gasden, father of three, West Pointer who married a West Pointer, and Infantry Battalion Commander who lost both legs in an IED blast in Iraq.

Laura Walker, daughter of a general, sister of two fellow West Pointers, who was the first female former cadet to die in Afghanistan.

And my uncle Walter Hamilton who was killed in Iran during WWII at the age of 23. His sister, my mother, died last year at the age of 88. She missed him every day.

Yes, they have names that ought to be remembered.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you Kathleen for giving us more specifics to enable us to "flesh out" these vague images in our minds of "soldier" or "veteran." Each one has a history, a family, and hopefully a future. We dare not be complacent or unconcerned for those who face, and often make, the ultimate sacrifice.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you Kathleen, for sharing names and relationships. We must learn to remember individual soldiers who suffer and those who died, and stop thinking of "groups of people" affected by our wars and conflicts. They were and are, all terribly important to someone. Blessings. Theresa

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