Behind enemy lines you gave your life,
The risks you knew and embraced willingly,
Red, black and green berets fought by your side,
And brought your body back to family.
Later in a ritual of their own,
They would name a field airport in your name,
And honor you, your brothers, far from home,
Their memory now your eternal flame.
I do not know your rank, your name, your face,
I only know that I am in your debt,
Who for your family can take your place?
Our debt to them we must never forget.
The freedom I enjoy comes thanks to you,
And all who serve with honor, proud and true.
Members of the elite special forces units consider themselves quiet soldiers. They do their work in the background, in some of the most dangerous places on earth. They bring their special skills to bear behind enemy lines operating in the shadows with only one another to watch their backs. And they don't leave one of their own behind. As a rule they don't talk about their work to outsiders. This sonnet is based on a very rare instance when one of these quiet soldiers very briefly mentioned an instance behind enemy lines where one of their own was killed in action but not left behind.
From of Pain and Ecstasy: Collected Poems (C) 2011