25 March 2017

“Soldier” by George L. Skypeck

I had heard that this poem written by Vietnam disabled veteran George L. Skypeck (who after active duty, went back to earn a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from University of Massachusetts) is one of the most displayed poems among various museums and monuments not just in the US but across the world.

Saw it for the first time in Columbus airport, Ohio.

The words are:

“I was that which others did not
want to be.
I went where others feared to go,
and did what others failed to do.
I asked nothing from those who gave
nothing, and reluctantly accepted the
thought of eternal loneliness …
should I fail.
I have seen the face of terror; felt
the stinging cold of fear; and enjoyed
the sweet taste of a moment’s love.
I have cried, pained, and hoped …
but most of all, I have lived times others
would say were best forgotten.
At least someday I will be able to say
that I was proud of what I was … a soldier.”

-George L. Skypeck


Posted March 25, 2017 by Rajib Roy in category "Travelogs


  1. By Ron Williams on

    mY NON-PROFIT org. would like to use it to promote our cause to assist youth & vets.
    How would I get permission to use it?

  2. By Ashleigh O'Hara on

    I’m his granddaughter and he’s doing well. He’s so talented and it’s heartwarming to see others appreciate his work. ☺️✌

  3. By Robert on

    Very happy he is doing well,I am his cousin Robert,my oldest brother Joseph a Marine is in a home.They would come from Holyoke to visit my dad..God Bless them Skypecks.I have three sons to carry the last name..Robert

  4. By rajibroy (Post author) on

    It is so great to see so many of his family members on this post. A chance observation at an airport has led me to get to connected to some of George’s family members. Feels great!

  5. By Lee on

    My 1st husband Command Sergeant Major Danny Cline(deceased/agent orange 2004) used this poem at a graduation
    C1/19 Ft. SilL, OK. 2/28/1991. Just found a copy of his speech. Still intensely profound 38 years later.

  6. By Arelius Mayes Jr on

    AS an young NCO I receive a hand writing copy ( A Soldier ) in 1976 from Gen Willard Latham at Fort Benning Ga. I Had copies printed and for the last 20 years I present one to Soldier from Fort Carson Colorado to Maine. There is something about that poem that lift you up and if you read it more than one time the tears flow.

  7. By Rick Martin Co. B, 4/47th, 9th Infantry Division 1966-1968 on

    I have a copy of this in my Man Cave. I’ve had it up over 30 years and it still stirs my soul to read it.


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