HOW DO WE GIVE THANKS by John Knottenbelt. 2nd August, 2017

How do we give Thanks ?


How do we give thanks to those,

Who gave up their lives for our freedom ?

From Flanders Field to Dunkirk,

And many other corners of the earth.

Some lasted mere minutes of that deadly war,

Some suffered its full run.

Those who opened up their eyes before dawn came,

Never saw the setting of the sun.


There were those who were mere boys,

Who tricked their way to join,

Those troops of brave souls.

Who never saw what should have come to pass.

Some left families behind with promises to return,

With kisses meant to last.


How can we thank those who gave their lives,

In foreign lands so cold ?

In trenches filled with mud & disease,

Bodies left right there of both young and old.

There was no time to think of fear,

Out and onward for King and Country was the cry.

Now thousands who never saw their children grow up,

In unmarked graves do lie.


The beaches soaked with blood,

Where now unsuspecting children play.

Where many frolic in azure waves with cries of joy,

Far from those fear filled days.

Where unmarked graves in poppy fields,

No longer torn and cratered by bombs like falling rain.

Where crosses row upon row bearing no names,

Are fed with tears of the few who remember,

again and again.


Those nimble legs no longer move as nimbly,

Nor arms once strong could do.

Many came back from that war not even half the man,

They left or prayed they would if they made it through.

Some medalled heroes now sit forgotten and forlorn,

In old aged homes alone.

Neither child nor other family come to lift their spirits,

They’re left like a once faithful dog no longer loved,

With neither a bowl of water nor even a bone.


How soon generations forget,

How fortunate they are.

That there were sons and daughters made of stronger stuff,

Who laid down their blossoming years,

To fight someone else’s war.

So we can live in prosperity and freedom,

With ne’er a sleepless night.

While bombs like migrating flocks of birds flew overhead,

And tears of fear replaced their sight.


Come now, raise a glass,

In cheers to each oft forgotten Soul.

Who suffered for so many they didn’t even know,

Their broken hearts now made whole.

Like a parent knows the error of those who so easily forget,

How tough life was all those years ago.

When innocents gave their gift of life,

Even for those who didn’t know.


And when all is said and done,

The medals handed out toboth the living &those gone.

Could never aptly convey the debt

Collective owed to those

Brave Souls by everyone.

And those word which ring out

So loud and strong,

Ateach annual

Commemorative gathering set.

Which should be impressed

Upon generations who come,

The promise that “WE SHALL NEVER FORGET”




John Knottenbelt.   2nd August, 2017.


(With deep respect for those who fought for our ultimate freedom).