I Was Never Brave


I did not set out to be brave

My intent was much more selfish

Just survive another day

And keep my brothers alive too

Not some lofty ideals of man

Just the desire for one more sunrise

For men who had surely earned it


In the fog of war, instinct prevails

You do simply what must be done

The repercussions that fatal loom

Bear no weight on a course of action

Fear serves no purpose here

But to bind the spirit and mind

A luxury unafforded and unknown


And if you are one of the lucky few

Who lives to see another day

Paying less a cost than those lost

They pin a medal on your chest

Awash in pleasant praise

But you can only think of your brothers

Another hole dug in Arlington


It is not pride you feel

Nor do you see yourself as brave

Anyone of us would do the same

If anything, you feel some blame

For the loss of beloved sons

Men of great honor and fidelity

Draped in the colors you serve


I was never brave

I was simply keeping a promise

One made silently in private times

To pairs of eyes that had seen war too

An unspoken oath given in a look

A promise to do whatever it took

To share another sunrise


So, the medals sit in a forgotten place

Next to the dog tags of friends I miss

And the citations speak of bravery

Above and beyond, a subjective phrase

Of these men that I called brothers

I was the least brave of them all

And yet you chose to honor me


Maybe in years to come

They will mean more to someone else

But they mean little to me now

The weight on my heart

Does not come from the pretty ribbons

It comes from this sunrise now

And the thought of those long gone


19 Responses to “I Was Never Brave”
  1. beth says:

    heartbreaking and so earnest –

  2. None of us who have ever experienced what you did – no, what you SACRIFICED – for our country will ever truly understand the loss you will always feel for your brothers-in-arms who did not get to see the next sunrise. Maybe we choose to shout out your bravery so that we can ignore thinking about your pain….

  3. petespringerauthor says:

    Great piece! Feelings that many of us will never know. Thank you for your service, my friend.

  4. Francisco Bravo Cabrera says:

    Spoken with truth and knowledge. Very good Brad, I quite agree…
    All the best to you,

  5. Jim Borden says:

    the desire for survival must become paramount, and then once you survive, it seems like you experience survivor’s guilt. there’s nothing easy about war, even once it is over.

    thank you for your service…

  6. jonicaggiano says:

    Dearest Brad I too thank you for your service. I gave my father’s tags which I was very proud of and gave them to my daughter in case anything happened to me. She cried because they meant a lot about the pain that lived within my father and also his time in the war. He served his Country proudly. You bring good thoughts of my dad, called Smitty into my heart and tears I can not stop
    I want to thank you from a personal level for this piece. Love you Brad ❤️Jonikins

  7. kristianw84 says:

    I can’t imagine what haunts you, I’ll never know the kinds of loss you have experienced, but reading about your pain, pains me. I’m glad you’re here to witness those sunrises, Brad. ❤

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