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by Greg Asimakoupoulos 

It wasn’t the plastic masks of trick-or-treating children that frightened me. It was a face more ugly and much more real. It was the face of war.

A few weeks before Halloween, that dreaded face peeked into the windows of our neighborhood. It was a weekend that became frozen in time as we learned that one of our neighbor's sons had been killed in Iraq. The daily headline of bloodshed in Baghdad that had seemed but a distant reality had been driven home and was now parked on our street.

Both the price tag of war and the sacrifice required to guarantee freedom came into uninvited focus. Our hearts were indescribably heavy but extremely proud as we contemplated what twenty-one year old Sergeant Jack Taft Hennessy had died doing.

Like the countless American soldiers down through history who gave their lives to make life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness possible for us all, Jack willingly surrendered his. He is among those we honor this week who have courageously served our country.

The following is a variation of a tribute I dedicated to Jack. It calls to mind the debt we owe those we never knew who nonetheless died on our behalf. It pays homage to the unknown soldiers who must never be forgotten.

A Tribute to an Unknown Soldier


Hey soldier, even though I never knew you,

I bet we could have been good friends.

You loved our country just like I.

You bled red, white and blue.

You didn’t run when Uncle Sam

Said, “Young man, I need you!”


The things you fought for are the possessions I cherish.

They are privileges I could never afford on my own.

Freedom from fear. Freedom from want.

Freedom of speech and Freedom to Worship God.

A treasure chest of priceless gifts.

That’s what you bequeathed to me.

Because of you (and others like you),

I am wealthier than I can fully comprehend.

Still, in the end, in the pursuit of justice

(in which you gave your life), it doesn’t seem fair at all.

Why should you be called to give up some of those freedoms

in order to make all of them possible

for those who are sometimes hesitant to show their gratitude?


Hey soldier, even though I never knew you,

I bet we could have been good friends.

After all, I cried the day I heard you died.

As your flag-covered casket

was carried in slow-motion precision to a waiting hearse,

my heavy heart grieved with sighs too deep for words.


Hey soldier, even though I never knew you,

God knew you intimately.

What is more He loved you.

He gave His Son to die for you.

And I’m praying that this loving God

will overwhelm your loved ones with His comfort and compassion

as He under girds them with His grace and peace.

After all, thanks to you

I have the freedom to publicly declare my dependence on Him.


Hey soldier, I’m grieving you’re gone,

but I’m grateful for what you gave.

As it says in the Good Book, “…the greatest love is shown when people lay down their lives for their friends (John 15:13 NLT).”

 Real Answers Copyright: ©2004 Greg Asimakoupoulos furnished courtesy of The Amy Foundation Internet Syndicate. To contact the author or The Amy Foundation, write or E-mail to: P. O. Box 16091, Lansing, MI 48901-6091; Visit our website at

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