Another item my great-uncle typed is a poem simply entitled, “The Soldier.”  At the bottom of the page is the notation, “By Miss Mary Farrell of Hazleton, Penna., now with the American Red Cross in France.”

One online source credits two soldiers as authors of the poem, a Corporal George Hyde and Private Scott Carpenter.  The only problem is that the poem as seen at that source is shorter than my great-uncle’s transcribed copy, which follows:

The bars upon your shoulders / Or the uniform you wear / Don’t mean that you are a soldier / In this world wide war affair. / For a man’s a man in battle / And your uniform so bright / Isn’t worth an empty cartridge / If you don’t stand up and fight. / It’s the stuff inside the buttons / That count when you’re up there / And you won’t rate the name soldier / If you don’t fight on the square.

The title soldier should be sacred / And not called to every one / Who sports a classy uniform / Or totes around a gun. / And a mud soaked blood-stained doughboy / Fighting in the jaws of hell / Is the cleanest type of a soldier / And a fighting one as well. / Once I saw a soldier dying / (Yes he’s worthy of the name) / Just an ordinary private / But oh god he sure was game.

And before the last call sounded / For to pass his last review / He shook me by the hand and said / “Good bye old pal to you. / Tell my sweetheart that I love her / God bless my little Jane / Tell my mother I died smiling / And I don’t feel no pain.” / Gee I envied him his rating / For he died and did not flinch / Tho his heart inside was bleeding / That’s a soldier every inch.

And I know another soldier / Tho she never saw the trenches / And she never killed a hun / She’s the mother of that soldier / I saw dying over there. / She’s a sort of super soldier / For she gave more than her share / She gave her country all she had / Her pride, her love, her joy / She’s a splendid type of soldier / For she gave her only boy.

Blair Tarr is the Museum Curator of the Kansas State Historical Society. He oversees the three-dimensional collections of the Society, but has special interests in the Civil War, Wichita-made Valentine diners, and Leavenworth's Abernathy Furniture. In the last few years he has also done a lot of cramming on The Great War. He is a past president of the Kansas Museums Association and the Civil War Round Tables of both Kansas City and Eastern Kansas. He is currently a board member of the Heritage League of Greater Kansas City.