Memorial Day

Jennifer A. Ray on May-25-2015

Thank you to all who have served to protect our country and paid with the ultimate sacrifice.

Charles Kent Purcell II was my mother’s only brother. He wrote the poem “Depressed” about his experience in Vietnam shortly before he was killed there. My Grandparents sent a letter to C Battery with Uncle Kent’s poem. Grandma and Grandpa also sent a copy of the poem to Congressman Sykes of Florida, who read the poem to the full House of Representatives in Washington, DC.

The following was included in the “Congressional Record” in 1969, as Congressman Sykes addressed the House:

“Mr. Speaker, young Charles K. Purcell is dead. He was nineteen. His parents live in Valparaiso in my district. Two weeks before his death he wrote a poem. His Mother gave it to me when she told me that he made the supreme sacrifice for America. This nineteen-year old had a home and a wonderful family. He had a girlfriend, too, and a great many friends, for he was a wholesome American boy. All of them know what he has done and what other nineteen-year olds are doing for their country. Perhaps his poem will help the rest of us to do more – even just a little more – to bring about victory.”

by Charles K. Purcell II

I’m an American soldier,
My country I protect.
But I fight in Vietnam
Which I did not select
I was happy, I was care-free,
Still young and full of life.
I was torn from my world
To help end this strife.
I didn’t want this war,
I just can’t see the light.
It’s for our homes and families
So I will have to fight.
The Cong is our enemy,
The fight is always near.
But at home the draft card burners
Are attacking from the rear.
At home they pay no notice
They could care less.
“Let the fools go over there,
Heck with the bloody mess
The clergy pray for us,
The Mothers fret and cry.
We lie here and hope and wait,
At home they all just sigh!
“He was a good ole guy,
too bad it had to be.
I know it is a terrible thing,
But better him than me.”
The girl friends drop the soldiers.
They cannot wait for some
Who are fighting to protect them,
But never may come home.
The war continues on,
So I will let it ride.
I can last for just a year,
For God is on our side.

–House Congressional Record
22 May 1969

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