“Thank You For Your Service”

Phil Silvers

I’m a ghost of the ghost of my former self
from a time we poked fun at the foibles of men
laughing at Bilko and Navy McHale
recognizing schemers without fail
even in uniform.

Not so anymore.  No need to dwell upon it
No longer are we part of them
We’re on the outside looking in
for everyone of them’s a hero.

Parade you on the football field
“Thank you for your service”
slaps on the back, cheerleaders flirt;
 in the owner’s box (like you belong)
passed around like a favorite bong.

 while lawyers cheer between the punts
corporate types and soccer moms
all want a piece of a teenage grunt
making fifteen grand a year.

then pack you off on another “tour”
fighting wars we can never win
You think that they would know by now
you only joined ’cause you were poor

still the madding crowd is down
they “honored” you but the home team lost;
A playoff game they’d hoped to host
while you are off to God knows where.




About toritto

I was born during year four of the reign of Emperor Tiberius Claudius on the outskirts of the empire in Brooklyn. I married my high school sweetheart, the girl I took to the prom and we were together for forty years until her passing in 2004. We had four kids together and buried two together. I had a successful career in Corporate America (never got rich but made a living) and traveled the world. I am currently retired in the Tampa Bay metro area and live alone. One of my daughters is close by and one within a morning’s drive. They call their pops everyday. I try to write poetry (not very well), and about family. Occasionally I will try a historical piece relating to politics. :-)
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7 Responses to “Thank You For Your Service”

  1. elainecanham says:

    I like it, but I’m a bit confused by the second verse. Is it saying the narrator used to be in the army? Sorry to be so obtuse.


    • toritto says:

      Elaine – thanks for coming by -The vast majority of Americans no longer have a connection with the military. The end of conscription has allowed the development of a separate culture in the services. War affects very few today – war is for other people. War is for those who volunteer. And because most of us are unaffected most of us don’t think about it. We are on the outside looking in.

      The military today is above criticism and oversight. And parody. And ridicule.

      No one today would dare do a comedy like Sgt. Bilko. We cannot laugh at the military. We no longer know how. All of them are now “heroes”. As are police and first responders.



      • weggieboy says:

        I agree. When everyone is “exceptional”, no one is. “Hero” doubtlessly applies to some of those who serve, but volunteering to serve, serving and surviving lacks any element of heroism I can think of.


  2. elainecanham says:

    I get you. But cheer up. Unthinking reverence can be a pain, but it is so ripe for parody, as for example in the Life of Brian, that it won’t be long before Bilko comes back. (And Dobermann, too, natch)
    We have a comedy/drama series over here called Bluestone 42 which is about an army bomb disposal unit in Afghanistan, and it’s on its third series, so maybe a US channel will take that up.
    All the best for the New Year, Mr T. Felix annus.


  3. My late father, a WWII veteran, adored Phil Silvers and Sargent Bilko.


  4. Pingback: NFL is Paid to “Salute the Troops!” | toritto

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