Saturday, November 11, 2006

"The Final Inspection"

The Final Inspection

The soldier stood and faced God, which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining, just as brightly as his brass.

Step forward now, you soldier, how shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek? To my church have you been true?

The soldier squared his shoulders and said, no Lord, I guess I ain't.
Because those of us who carry guns, can't always be a saint.

I've had to work most Sundays, at times my talk was tough.
And sometimes I've been violent, because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny, that wasn't mine to keep.
Though I worked over time, when the bills just got too steep.

And I never passed a cry for help, though at times I shook with fear.
And sometimes God, forgive me, I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place, among the people here.
They never wanted me around, except to calm their fears.

If you've a place for me here, Lord, it needn't be so grand.
I never expected or had to much, but if you don't I'll understand.

There was a silence all around the throne, where the saints had often trod,
As the soldier waited quietly, for the judgement of his God.

Step forward now, you soldier, you've borne your burdens well.
Walk peacefully on heaven's streets, you've done your time in hell.

This poem was written by Sgt. Joshua Helterbran of the 224th Engineer Battalion. It was recited from memory to me by my son, Anthony Wayne. He found this poem in the prison newspaper where he and his brother, Travis Lee are correction officers.
Note:
(After two years of searching for the author of this amazing poem, there was contact with the soldier's mother. The writer granted permission to continue displaying his work that has touched so many hearts and souls.)

After searching the web for more information on poem, I found a second part!

3 comments:

Dirty Butter said...

This is a very powerful poem. It really needs to be published in some way to give tribute to the young man who wrote it, such as Reader's Digest.

Janey Loree said...

It does need to be published because when I search online for more information about the author, it seems there is already controversary over who wrote it.

Anonymous said...

This poem "Final Inspection" was written, copyrighted, and registered with the Library of Congress. In 2002 It was submitted by Peter A. Hornbach the original Author, to the US Army for a poetry contest. Although the words have been slightly changed, this version is very close to Hornbach's Version. If you would like to read the original version of Final Inspection, go to poetry.com where it has been published,and copyrighted again.





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