All it takes is a uniform and a flag

The call of duty in service to your country

To turn off any learned morality

Born by conscience or belief


Trained and provisioned

With the sole purpose of winning

Taking a life becomes just a job

One we are proud to be good at


We wear the medals with pride

Fruit salad served on our chest

A mark of the people who died

Envied as if a reward


Better them than us

A phrase often spoken

On both sides of the war

But only one gets to be right


Yet every life is a brother

Though different than one another

And these hands have given final rest

To people just like me


I would have rather been martyr than master

Where the long night seeks no answers

And we are measured by what we gave

Rather than by all we took


14 Responses to “Decorated”
  1. beth says:

    very poignant

  2. Jim Borden says:

    what a difficult dilemma, expressed so well…

    I am grateful for your service, Brad, and how you share your thoughts of what it was like…

  3. I can almost feel the pain and angst at having to take another’s life (as taught) in order to save yours, your brothers-in-arms and/or this country we call home. Thank you for serving with pride and dignity, and at times, sacrificing your mental health as well as your physical health. I love you.

  4. jonicaggiano says:

    This is hard for me to read though words so lovely and eloquently express your feelings of sorry for all lives lost in the world. My father was always so proud of his 20 years but never once talked to me about his service in the Korean War except when he was pretty wasted. I am just grateful he did. The other men must have had an idea that he lied about his age and was only sixteen while in the war. I will always be proud of my father’s service. I am also thankful for yours. We do have our freedom because of the sacrifices that my father and brave men like you made. I have always considered it an honor to know you for the brilliant poet you are but also for your service. Sending you love and blessings always Brad, Jonikins

    • Brad Osborne says:

      Thank you Jonikins! You have every reason to be proud of your father and his choosing to serve.

      • jonicaggiano says:

        I am so proud of him. Thank you Brad. If you actually go into my website under photography there is a picture of my father in uniform when he was very young. I looked just like him when I was young. He always opened our small home when we moved off base to any man who
        who served with him on our four acres and they were always so respectful and kind to us girls. We were really young but I
        Have still never meet a soldier that I didn’t like.
        Sending love ❤️ and extra hugs today. I wanted you to know even though it is a virtual friendship it means a lot to me to know you
        Brad. Love ❤️ Jonikins

  5. petespringerauthor says:

    This is so good, Brad! The stanza that resonated with me:

    We wear the medals with pride
    Fruit salad served on our chest
    A mark of the people who died
    Envied as if a reward

    I never served, but I imagine that is something that would be hard to come to terms with.

  6. Brad, you are wonderful. Thank you for sharing this beautiful poem.

    “And we are measured by what we gave
    /Rather than by all we took”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: