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The ghost story

Veterans’ Voices is directed toward veterans and their families who have given so much to ensure our freedom in this country. This is an area where you may share your experiences, or read of other veterans’ experiences. We thank you for your service, and hope that you know how much you are loved and appreciated.


I read a story in a veteran’s magazine, about a soldier who walks around Arlington cemetery at different times each day. Mostly at night, he never talks to anyone and looks like he never cleans up and always wears his fatigue uniform. He’s unshaved and looks pretty scary.

Well, I was thinking about that story for a few days, and I wanted to write a poem about this soldier. So, I wrote a few words down and pretty soon I came up with the title “The Ghost Soldier”. I just started off with some things that I read about and made up some of the story as I went along. Some of the words I chose was from some my experiences in Vietnam.

I was in an ambush one time in Vietnam where everyone around me was either dead or wounded. For days I thought of writing this poem and finally I worked on it to make it sound right. Its as much a story than a poem. You see, much of what is in the poem is a part of myself. I can relate to combat soldiers who went through heavy combat and lived to tell their own stories.

Some people will not understand a veteran that has trouble adjusting to everyday life. It took me awhile to get back into everyday life.

You always seem to have flashbacks of seeing your buddies lying on the ground dead and wounded all around you. It’s a picture that never leaves you. Its forever in your mind. Well, I hope you like the poem “The Ghost Soldier.”

One day while at Arlington Cemetery,

I saw a ghostly looking figure moving toward me,

He was a soldier shrouded in a foggy mystic gray,

And looked quite scary.

As he slowly passed me by, I reached out to shake his hand

And say Hi.

But he went on his way, and not a word to say.

Then an old veteran tapped me on the shoulder and said

“Let him go son,

He will not rest until his mission is done”.

He passes this way often, but never speaks.

Its not the living that he seeks,

And as I turned and looked

At the old veteran, I could see the pain and sorrow in his


and then he asked me “have you ever been in a place

Where everyone around you dies”?

Many of his fellow soldiers

Never came home, and he continues to hear their cries.

And in his dreams, they still roam, he’s the only one left

He’s all alone.

Someday his search will cease.

He will be laid to rest, and his mind will finally be at peace.

So don’t worry my son, you’ll always see him passing by at

Times somewhere around Arlington.

Some call him The Ghost Soldier, who never sleeps,

On guard, he always keeps.

— By Ernest Phillips

This story was at the Veterans Memorial Museum in Fresno. I thought I would print it to share with everyone. Email comments or suggestions at

• • •

— Royal D. Goodman, U.S. Army/Vietnam,

1st Cav/9th Infantry


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