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12-13-02, 07:23 AM
The Chaplain wore no helmet
His head was bowed in prayer
His face was seamed with sorrow
But a trace of hope was there.

Our ranks were hushed and silent
And diminished by our loss
At our feet, the rows of crosses
Told how much the battle cost.

Rows of neat white crosses
And Stars of David too
Marked the gravesites of our brothers
Whose fighting days were through.

Friends of mine were lying there
Ski and Ace and Slim
Bo and Jack, Bill and Joe
Dusty, Tex and Jim.

Each had his simple marker
But the closest one to me
Was a plain white, wooden headboard
Marked “Unknown USMC.”

In this final camp of comrades
It was somehow strange and odd
That a man should lie among them
Known only to his God.

Who can he be, I wondered
Was he white or black or red?
This man who shares a resting place
With our loved and honored dead.

He cannot be a stranger
But a friend whose lonely track
Has brought him here among us
I think I’ll call him “Mac.”

“Mac” is a name we’ve often used
And it’s been used on me
It’s better than the epitaph
“Unknown USMC.”

So many times I’ve heard it
In the blackness of the night
Through the swirling mist of combat
With the battle at it’s height.

“Hey Mac”, a voice would call
We could use some help put here
I’ve got a man who’s wounded
Can you help him to the rear?

“Hey Mac” I’m really burning up
The sun’s so blazing hot
Can you spare a drop of water-
“Gee, thanks Mac, thanks a lot.

The day when I was wounded
Hurt and lying in the snow
A cigarette was offered me
By a man I didn’t know.

He quickly stopped the bleeding
And rolled me on my back
Grinned and gripped his rifle
And said “Take it easy Mac.”

A simple word, a simple name
But still it proves to me
That no man ever really is
“Unknown USMC.”

The Chaplain’s prayer is finished
Our colors gently dip
The rifle squad is ready
The bugler wets his lip.

With blurry eyes and saddened heart
I heard the rifles crack
Taps floated softly in the air
And I said goddbye to “Mac.”