I spent Christmas in a foxhole, Listening to Stille Nacht across the way, The tree line sang, And it was dark, deep and snowing, But the white ground reflected just fine against the moon, Now I can't eat cherry snow cones, Because of the way the tracks dragged along and then stopped, You could still make out a body if you tried, Well we were taught never to leave a good man behind, But sometimes there wasn't much man left, And sometimes there was just too much man to take, In a land where over twenty-five was old, Me, Don and George we were just kids, And my Ma kept trying to send me birthday cake for finally becoming a man, She kept asking "Was I keeping warm?" Was I keeping warm? Angry didn't begin to cover the way no one mentioned him again, After he fell, I was keeper of dog tags, locked in my fist, Fear like a sneeze, Always at the back of my throat but I didn't let it go, So I cried alone, And we tried to get by together, And I wish I could say he was always with us, The forgotten shadow in the foxhole, But the truth is he was taken with little resistance, And I never saw him again, Third grade captain of the baseball team, Kissed a girl before I did, I was afraid to wash the filthy clothes he left behind, For fear of wiping him from existence, They let me keep a shirt without bloodstains, And it felt like home for months, Until the smell of my friend began to fade. I had to stand up, To be the best man I could be, Because German was in my tongue and so far away for everyone else, I saw the dead walking towards me in striped pyjamas, Shook my head and said: "I don't wanna", Well my boys picked me up and said: "Joey, you just gotta", So I saw the worst of what humans can do, Looked apathetic, like a soldier, Didn't cry, But when he told me: "I am a Jew", I answered: "So am I", And the star of David he wore on his arm, Mine was tattooed on my heart, Once we'd calmed them down, Denied them my box of rations, I fell to my knees and sobbed, Humans punishing humans punishing humans, And no amount of screaming would stop the film behind my eyes, They told me I did well today, "Joe, you did good for your people." It's been a tough war, It's been a long war, And my girl back home, I married her straight away, Even though she wasn't a Jew, But I could have lived and died in her beautiful blonde hair, So my Ma loved her anyway, I wanted several daughters, And I wanted several sons, So they could have brothers like I did, My girl called me a hero, But I ain't no hero, I ain't no saint, I ain't no warrior, I ain't no order, I ain't no weapon, No blood, No war, I am the cry for a medic in the dead of night, I am the line of defence that would not move, I am no surrender, I am a survivor, I am surviving still, I am a husband, A father, A friend, But most of all, I am a Brother.
Dedicated to the veterans of World War Two and all those who fought so hard but didn't make it. US and British soldiers, we salute you.