An article inspires a song.
So many years ago, I designed a plan to create a hotel and theatre complex as part of Strictly Country. As part of this complex, Strictly Country would host a special event called Memorial Day Honors. This four day event would include special performances by selected entertainers. By day the theater would host big screen war movies like Platoon, Patton, Saving Private Ryan, and even Band of Brothers. Memorial Day would bring a gun salute with various speakers. The event would end with a large fireworks display.
The four day event would begin at 7 P.M. on the Friday night of Memorial Day weekend. It would begin with what I called "The Walk of The Lone Soldier." For "The Walk of The Lone Soldier" I would have an active soldier, dressed in uniform, walk up a hill, where we would have an American flag flying on a flag pole, and stand guard throughout the entire event. Of course, the change of the soldier would happen hourly. The meaning behind "The Walk of The Lone Soldier" is to remind us all that at any given time, America - it's beliefs and freedoms - are always guarded by a soldier.
Each year I think about this special event, hoping that someday I will be able to host something like this. Thinking about "The Walk of The Lone Soldier," I was inspired to write about him in a Blog on Strictly Country's website in 2011. Little did I know, my story of the Lone Soldier would inspire someone else.
The Lone Soldier
By: Gina Kay Singerhouse
It's a Friday night, like so many Friday nights before. However, this Friday night is special, it's the beginning of a long weekend. The weekend of Memorial Day. A weekend when millions of Americans get into their cars, vans and trucks to head out of town. They worked a long week for many months and they believe that they deserve these three days off with no strings attached.
It's dusk, here in America. The sun is slowly setting, bringing with it the slow darkness of the night. Some where in America the drum begins it's morbid beat as the spirit of the lone soldier begins his walk. It happens every year at this time. The spirit of the lone soldier begins his walk up the hill to stand guard next to a flag pole that stands high upon a hill in some where in America. At times the soldier looks ragged as if he has seen war. He wears the colors of World War I with his pot helmet. The next time you see him he has the look of a battle wound from World War II. Then he transfers to caring the weapons of Korea and the sorrow of Vietnam. He is a soldier that has seen so much in so very little.
The flag on his right shoulder is warn and ragged. It has seen the sights of Normandy, Paris, Holland, and Germany. It has gone on to witness the horrors of Korea and Vietnam. It has tasted the dust of Libya, Iran and Iraq. But most of all it has been draped over the bodies, who were brought home.
In agony and grief the lone soldier fights his way to the top of the hill. It is his job to protect and defend the beliefs of America. The lone soldier reaches the top of the hill. He takes a deep breath, stands tall and salutes the flag. With an about face, he turns and stands at attention waiting and ready to defend his country. It's a grandeur sight, if you believe and if you can see.
You may not see the spirit of the lone soldier, but he is there. He stands there next to the glory of the red, white and blue, all weekend long. He is there to remind us that this is not our weekend. It's his. This weekend is for every lone soldier who fought, who served, who died - so that we may enjoy and take advantage of our freedoms.
The morning dew is slowly burning off the freshly cut grass of each cemetery across our great nation. It's Memorial Day and the flags line the white headstones to acknowledge their service. In the bright early sun, the lone soldier walks among the graves of his brethren. He too remembers his days. He is startled when the twenty-one gun salute goes off. He stands at attention, while a lonely tear streams down his face. In his mind he hears the horrors of the sounds of war.
From their graves, they rise to join him. His fellow soldiers, his brethren in war. They walk this land from sea to shining sea, continuing their service of protecting this great nation. If you listen and watch even more closely, you will witness the spirits that made our Nation so great.
The sun slowly descends over the horizon. It is the end of this great day, Memorial Day. The lone soldier, standing tall upon a hill in some where in America, does an about face. He salutes the American flag as he is reminded of the battles she has seen and the coffins she has laid upon. With an about face he turns and begins his decent down the hill in some where in America.
Some where in America, a soldier is laid at rest. He or she has given their life to defend our freedoms. This weekend is not your holiday. It's not your day to work, play, shop or party. This weekend is about the lone soldier...
It's about every mother, father, sister, brother, niece, nephew, cousin - it's about every soldier who was willing to give the ultimate gift...
It's about the lone soldier
who gave his or her life so that we may be free.
A couple weeks later I received an e-mail from a prominent singer song writer Mark "Brink" Brinkman. Brink told me how my story, of The Lone Soldier, had inspired him to write a song called "The Spirit Of The Lone Soldier."
"When I first read your article it made me feel sad. How Memorial Day Weekend is now more about vacations, parties and having fun than a weekend of remembrance and paying tribute to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf." states Brink. "I remembered how when I was young we always went to the cemetery to take part and also to watch the Memorial Ceremony and to understand what it all meant. The article got me thinking how we have lost so much of that 'respect' through generations. It was a combination of sad and angry and the idea that if we 'forget' we are doomed as a nation. That is what hit me between the eyes as I read your article."
Half the time I feel as if no one reads what I write. I was surprised at Brink's e-mail. But what did inspire him to write the song?
"The idea that there is a 'spirit' of the lone soldier that is present all over this country hit home with me." replies Brink. "The fact that this 'spirit' carries all the memories of all who have served and will serve. The 'spirit of the lone soldier' is really present whenever we remember and thank God that people have given their lives for our freedom. I thought that as long as this 'spirit of the lone soldier' is alive with us there is hope for our country…but…the day we forget is the day we start to lose the freedom that all before us had fought for. I felt I HAD to write a song about that. It is powerful idea but with so much truth! I hope the song brings that feeling out in the listener. That it will inspire folks to think about the reason we are free…the reason we can live our lives the way we do."
Brink is no stranger to writing songs about soldiers. His more notable song "With Love From Normandy," was released on his 2010 album On The Brink of A Dream.
"My father-in-law was a B-26 pilot in WWII and was shot down over Germany and a POW in Luft Stalag III for almost two years." shares Mark when asked why this subject is dear to his heart. "My Dad was in the Air Force for 8 years stationed overseas. I attended the US Air Force Academy for 2 years and my son is about to start his Air Force life reporting to Lackland AFB May 8th. We just can't thank service men and women enough for what they do everyday. Yes, it is near and dear to my heart and when I write a song I really try to bring the emotion to the song. We can't thank them enough!"
Today, Mark Brinkman is pitching the song to various artists. His wishes is to have a major recording artist record the song to share the power and spirit of the Lone Soldier. If you are interested, please contact me.
Each Memorial Day, I think about the Lone Soldier and his journey. I thank God that we have men and women like him. I only hope that they rest in peace now. For the Lone Soldier carries their suffering upon his back.
(Printed in the 9th Annual Memorial Day Honors Special issue of Strictly Country Magazine, 2012.)
“The Spirit of the Lone Soldier”
© 2011 Mark “Brink” Brinkman
& Jamie Brinkman
Inspired by the writings of
Gina Kay Singerhouse
He carries their memory on his back
Normandy, Korea, Vietnam and Iraq
For the soldiers who never made it home. Step by step he climbs that hill alone.
In the silence he hears the sounds of war. His knees buckle from the weight of those who died before
A pride deep within won’t let him stop
Till he sees Old Glory waving at the top.
The Lone Soldier…. stands straight and tall. Like the miles of white headstones of the ones who gave their all. Mother Freedom is our lady… he’ll reach out and hold her
Safe in the arms….of The Lone Soldier.
The Lone Soldier walks among the graves. A country’s grateful tears…roll slowly down her face
For the fathers, mothers, daughters, sons and wives…The ones that bought our freedom with their lives.
The Spirit is our lifeblood spilled on the battleground. It runs through our farmland, the cities and the towns
The Spirit unites us and keeps our nation strong. As long as we remember the Lone Soldier will walk on!
The Lone Soldier… stands straight and tall. Like the miles of white headstones of the ones who gave their all. Mother Freedom is our lady…he’ll reach out and hold her
Safe in the arms….of The Lone Soldier.
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