Ode to the Retiree

When I was young, a friend of mine,
Retired with thirty years of military service.
More years than I had lived.

I asked him, "was it worth it?"
And a tear came to his eye,
He said, "Son, I'd do it all again."
And then he told me why.

He said, "This nation can not stand,
Unless we have someone,
To guard our country night and day,
The way that I have done.

"There is better paying jobs." He said.
With much better hours too.
But the future of this country.
Depends on guys; like me and you".

"I've not got a lot to show,
And my years at home were few.
But I did my job the best I could,
And now it's up to you."

I think about this friend of mine.
As my thirty years grow near.
And I understand how he felt.
And why I saw that tear.

I've been gone from home a lot myself,
And I've got a scar or two.
But if I had it all to do again.
I'd do the same thing too.

There's a youngster out there somewhere,
Who'll enlist to take my place.
He'll ask me, "Was it worth it?"
And see a tear run down my face.

They're good, these young replacements.
I work with them each day.
With faith in God, they'll do the job.
And the best of them will stay.

And in thirty years, a youngster
Whose service just began,
Will ask; and get the answer:
"Son, I would do it all again."