The 30 Best Veteran’s Day Poems For Our Heros

2022 Update

Veteran’s Day, formerly known as armistice day, is a national public holiday that takes place on November 11th.

Having first been observed in 1919, a year after World War One, Veterans Day aims to celebrate the efforts and sacrifices of our retired armed forces, who put themselves directly in the line of fire to protect their nation and its civilians.

Veteran’s Day is often mixed up with Memorial Day; however, the two are different. Memorial Day is observed on May 29th and is held in remembrance of those who breathed their last while serving in the army.

Nevertheless, it is no less important to recognize the efforts of those who did serve and made it back alive – our veterans. From suffering irreparable bodily harm to losing a limb, from leaving their families behind to watching their brethren die on the frontlines – they have made many a sacrifice in the protection of our country.

And what better way to honor the ones so deserving of our respect than with some heart-felt poetry? Poems are truly the ultimate medium to convey feelings that are difficult to put into words.

So we’ve compiled a list of 31 of the most inspirational, profound, and beautiful Veteran’s Day poems you can use to express your gratitude to the unsung heroes of our country:

The Best Veteran’s Day Poems

1.) Armistice

The water sings along our keel,
The wind falls to a whispering breath;
I look into your eyes and feel
No fear of life or death;
So near is love, so far away
The losing strife of yesterday.

We watch the swallow skim and dip;
Some magic bids the world be still;
Life stands with finger upon lip;
Love hath his gentle will;
Though hearts have bled, and tears have burned,
The river floweth unconcerned.

We pray the fickle flag of truce
Still float deceitfully and fair;
Our eyes must love its sweet abuse;
This hour we will not care,
Though just beyond to-morrow’s gate,
Arrayed and strong, the battle wait.

– Sophie Jewett

2.) Take A Moment To Thank A Veteran

When you see someone in a uniform,
Someone who serves us all,
Doing military duty,
Answering their country’s call,

Take a moment to thank them
For protecting what you hold dear;
Tell them you are proud of them;
Make it very clear.

Just tap them on the shoulder,
Give a smile, and say,
“Thanks for what you’re doing
To keep us safe in the USA!”

– Joanna Fuchs

3.) 1915: The Trenches

All night long we lie
Stupidly watching the smoke puff over the sky,
Stupidly watching the interminable stars
Come out again, peaceful and cold and high,
Swim into the smoke again, or melt in a flare of red…
All night long, all night long,
Hearing the terrible battle of guns,
We smoke our pipes, we think we shall soon be dead,
We sleep for a second, and wake again,
We dream we are filling pans and baking bread,
Or hoeing the witch-grass out of the wheat,
We dream we are turning lathes,
Or open our shops, in the early morning,
And look for a moment along the quiet street…
And we do not laugh, though it is strange
In a harrowing second of time
To traverse so many worlds, so many ages,
And come to this chaos again,
This vast symphonic dance of death,
This incoherent dust.

– Conrad Aiken

4.) The Life of a Soldier

We have an understanding, you and I.
We sit in silence; nothing needs to be said.

I know the weight you carry.
You hold your head high, but inside you cry.

The life of a soldier is not an easy one.

Memories haunt you!
But you stand tall and show no fear.

The life of a soldier is not an easy one.

You hear voices of days past come rushing to your head.
You think to yourself, “He was a good one; why is he dead?”

You wonder if you should have done things differently.
No time to think, only react.

The life of a soldier is not an easy one.

The guilt is too much to bear.
Although you were wounded, you question,

“Why him and not me?”
You can’t forget the faces that were there.

The life of a soldier is not an easy one.

We have an understanding, you and I.
You’re a soldier for life; and it has not been an easy one

– Jodi M. Kucera

5.) Veterans Day Tribute

To the servicemen
who paid with their life
to ensure our freedom again
and to live without strife.

Your sacrifice I commemorate
in my humble way
and your memory I celebrate
on this Veteran’s Day.

– Unknown

6.) Untitled

They are the race –
they are the race immortal,
Whose beams make broad
the common light of day!
Though Time may dim,
though Death has barred their portal,
These we salute,
which nameless passed away.

– Unknown

7.) Soldiers from the war returning

Soldier from the wars returning,
Spoiler of the taken town,
Here is ease that asks not earning;
Turn you in and sit you down.

Peace is come and wars are over,
Welcome you and welcome all,
While the charger crops the clover
And his bridle hangs in stall.

Now no more of winters biting,
Filth in trench from fall to spring,
Summers full of sweat and fighting
For the Kesar or the King.

Rest you, charger, rust you, bridle;
Kings and kesars, keep your pay;
Soldier, sit you down and idle
At the inn of night for aye.

– A.E. Houseman

8.) Why?

Why did you leave home and friends,
comfort and safety,
to experience pain and hardship,
so I could be protected?
I don’t know; but thank you.

Why did you put yourself in danger,
injury and death always a possibility,
so I could be free?
I don’t know; but thank you.
Thank you, veteran.
Thank you!

– Joanna Fuchs

9.) Fallen Heroes

Fallen heroes one by one,
In the news there’s another one.
Whether they fight or whether they are on call,
It’s time to thank them once and for all.

To all you soldiers across the land,
Whether on call or in the promised land,
You’re in our hearts, you’re in our souls.
We thank you greatly as the conflicts unfold.

Fallen heroes one by one,
Let’s pray to God there’s not another one.
Whether they fought for our freedom or whether they are on call,
It’s time to thank them one and all.

– Roger Loiseau

10.) Convalescence

From out the dragging vastness of the sea,
Wave-fettered, bound in sinuous seaweed strands,
He toils toward the rounding beach, and stands
One moment, white and dripping, silently,
Cut like a cameo in lazuli,
Then falls, betrayed by shifting shells, and lands
Prone in the jeering water, and his hands
Clutch for support where no support can be.
So up, and down, and forward, inch by inch,
He gains upon the shore, where poppies glow
And sandflies dance their little lives away.
The sucking waves retard, and tighter clinch
The weeds about him, but the land-winds blow,
And in the sky there blooms the sun of May.

– Amy Lowell

11.) Honor Our Veterans

we all love our freedom
yet we despise
the wars that have been fought
we say we love our Veterans,
but do we truly honor them?
is the concept of freedom
possible without the concept of war?
I honestly think not
contemplate that now and then
we all wish it could be so
but too naturally comes opposition
too many points of view
opposing ideals continuing to flow
one thing we must remember
our Veterans served our country
they did not start the wars
they answered the call of duty
so, if you love America
you must love our Veterans
for without them
we would have no freedom
God bless America!
And God bless our Veterans!

– Unknown

12.) Untitled

On Veterans Day we remember again
Our men and women who served;
We honor them now for what they did then:
The liberties they preserved.
Let’s never forget their sacrifice,
The hard, heavy work they have done;
They did what was asked, crucial needs they fulfilled,
With a telephone, pencil or gun.
We’re happy and proud to honor them;
They gave so much more than they got.
Our heroes, our veterans kept freedom safe;
All of us owe them a lot.

Unknown

13.) In Honor of our Veterans

From year to year he drifts alone.
His story only few have known.

About a boy who went to war,
and there he stayed forevermore.

His leathered skin and graying hair,
his tattered clothes and gazing stare,

standing tall, yet head so low,
he carries scars we’ll never know.

So know that our freedom isn’t free.
It came from heroes such as he!

– Patricia L. Cisco

14.) Soldier Twentieth Century

I love you, great new Titan!
Am I not you?
Napoleon and Caesar
Out of you grew.

Out of unthinkable torture,
Eyes kissed by death,
Won back to the world again,
Lost and won in a breath,

Cruel men are made immortal.
Out of your pain born,
They have stolen the sun’s power
With their feet on your shoulders worn.

Let them shrink from your girth,
That has outgrown the pallid days
When you slept like Circe’s swine
Or a word in the brain’s ways.

– Isaac Rosenberg

15.) The changing of days

Let us give up this time,
to give glory and praise.
To the world all around us,
to the changing of days.
We were born to be one,
to unite and hold hands.
But the war it continues,
still dividing the lands.
Such a sad time of year,
for the lonely and old,
Nothing worth giving in to.
nothing left to withhold.

– Unknown

16.) A Nation’s Strength

Not gold, but only man can make
A people great and strong;
Men who, for truth and honor’s sake,
Stand fast and suffer long.Brave men who work while others sleep,
Who dare while others fly —
They build a nation’s pillars deep
And lift them to the sky.

– Walt Whitman

17.) Why do Veterans serve?

Veterans are men and women,
who fight because they care.
They give their lives to serve our country,
by land, by sea, or by air.

They serve because they love us.
They serve because
they want a better future for their country,
a better future for their world.

Serving comes with consequences,
that they know and are willing to dare.
You can’t find a braver person,
here or anywhere.

They fight for their rights.
They fight for our lives,
and we owe them all a thank you
for all that they’ve sacrificed.

– Blue Butterfly

18.) In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

– John McCrae

19.) Veterans Tribute

Veterans are those who stand up and fight.
Because they know this is right.
They cross the bright and shining sea.
To give us our chance to live and be free.

They leave their families and closest kin.
For God and country our lands they defend.
It’s time we pay tribute for all they have done.
They are ALL Heroes – each and everyone.

They did not do this for glory or even fame.
They did not set out to be Heroes – but that is their name.
To those many people that are red, white, and blue.
We stand up proudly today and say “THANK YOU!!!”

– Unknown

20.) Untitled

While we were home on our comfortable sofas,
Munching and watching TV,
Our veterans were fighting our battles,
In situations we’d certainly flee.
Whatever would keep us all safe
Is what they were called to do,
Rough duties of every kind
Protecting us: me and you.

– Unknown

21.) After the War

When he got to the farmhouse, he rifled through
the cabinets, drawers, and cupboards,
and his buddies did too. The place was abandoned,
or so he thought, and his buddies did too.

He tried to talk to people in town, and his buddies did too,
but he was the only one whose Yiddish made it
across into German. They took his meaning.
He, in the farmhouse, took a camera and a gun,

but his buddies, who knows. About the gun,
it’s also hard to say, but after the war he took up
photography, why not, and shot beautiful women
for years. Got pretty good at it, and how.

Won prizes and engraved plates, put them in a drawer, forgot
the war, forgot his buddies, forgot the women, forgot the drawer.

– Rachel Galvin

22.) Bravo American Knight

Driving home one day after hours of monotonous office work,
Saw a man sitting by the road; looked as one down on his luck.
Paid small notice to the figure; my lonely life was in a rut.
He was just another beggar holding out a shiny tin cup.

But something was rather uncharacteristic about this scene.
His old camouflaged fatigues were those of a U.S. marine.
No legs dangled from his wheelchair, but he sat tall, proud, and upright.
Many ribbons bore evidence of America’s finest knight.

Walked up to the stranger – what was left of a man sitting there.
No others near, just us two, and the pall of pathos in the air.
His hair unkempt, a shaggy beard, he stared as each car would stop,
Lest he miss a coin or, pray, a bill into his cup one might drop.

In horror saw that the cup was held by an artificial hand.
An ear had been severed; thumb on other hand, one eye was blind.
He acknowledged my presence, tipped his military cap.
As he did, I observed scars occupied most of his scalp.

Asked how life brought him to this intersection on life’s highway.
From boot camp was deployed to “play in the sand” in land over there.
“Sir,” he said, “From high school my great desire was to serve my country.
Fighting with my buddies one night, my jeep hit unseen IED.”

“In flames and smoke I fought to breathe; felt that my life was slipping on.
Could barely hear, could scarcely see, and knew that my right arm was gone.
My head was bleeding profusely; could not feel my legs or left hand.
I begged God to let me die on the sands of Afghanistan.”

“The corpsman came with tears rolling down his face and with choking voice,
Said soldier, it’s your legs, I have to amputate, I have no choice.
There are other injuries, got to rush; choppers are on our right,
You hang in there, Marine; I salute you, brave American knight.”

The more he spoke, the colder the chills that ran up and down my spine.
Thoughtlessness and selfishness exposed a depravity of mind.
Self-pity, self-indulgence, resignation had poisoned my soul.
Changed by man with no legs, he stands ten feet tall on my honor roll.

Perhaps next time a soldier we meet at the mall or on the street,
Honor and salute those who served, even died, that we may live free.
Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Navy or Marine, guards of freedom’s light.
Grateful for those who wore the uniform, brave American knights.

– David G. Moore

23.) A Sight in Camp in the Daybreak Gray and Dim

A sight in camp in the daybreak gray and dim,
As from my tent I emerge so early sleepless,
As slow I walk in the cool fresh air the path near by the hospital tent,
Three forms I see on stretchers lying, brought out there untended lying,
Over each the blanket spread, ample brownish woolen blanket,
Gray and heavy blanket, folding, covering all.

Curious I halt and silent stand,
Then with light fingers I from the face of the nearest the first just lift the blanket;
Who are you elderly man so gaunt and grim, with well-gray’d hair, and flesh all sunken about the eyes?
Who are you my dear comrade?

Then to the second I step—and who are you my child and darling?
Who are you sweet boy with cheeks yet blooming?

Then to the third—a face nor child nor old, very calm, as of beautiful yellow-white ivory;
Young man I think I know you—I think this face is the face of the Christ himself,
Dead and divine and brother of all, and here again he lies.

– Walt Whitman

24.) Untitled

Thank you to our soldiers:
For standing in the line of fire
You are the best example of what this country can acquire
I know that being away from your family isn’t easy
Thinking about your sacrifice always makes me feel queasy
The battle that you are currently fighting in
Makes living day to day feel like such a win
Without you, our eagle would not soar
So thank you very much for fighting this war

– Unknown

25.) The City’s Oldest Known Survivor of the Great War

marches in uniform down the traffic stripe
at the center of the street, counts time
to the unseen web that has rearranged
the air around him, his left hand
stiff as a leather strap along his side,
the other saluting right through the decades
as if they weren’t there, as if everyone under ninety
were pervasive fog the morning would dispel
in its own good time, as if the high school band
all flapping thighs and cuffs behind him
were as ghostly as the tumbleweed on every road
dead-ended in the present, all the ancient infantry
shoulder right, through a skein of bone, presenting arms
across the drift, nothing but empty graves now
to round off another century,
the sweet honey of the old cadence, the streets
going by at attention, the banners glistening with dew,
the wives and children blowing kisses.

– James Doyle

26.) Final Salute

The honor guard stands sentinel and stiff-backed.
Their tears silently fall, for their brotherhood was forged in combat.

One of their own will be laid to rest,
A tribute and honor given only to the best.

As his family gathers near,
His wife takes her place as she wipes away her tears.

At the front, soldiers offer a salute,
And the casket is draped in red white and blue.

The red stripes are made redder by the courage in which he served,
Defending our freedoms he fought to preserve.

The white is made more pure by his devotion to duty,
A bronze star he earned in the midst of the enemy’s cruelty.

The blue field and the stars are our great land and our ideals that he defended,
Because of his love for the flag and what it represented.

In unison, the firing party begins to volley
A 21-gun salute, because a hero he embodied.

And then in this hallowed ground,
The melody of Taps begins to sound.

There isn’t a dry eye in this place,
As emotion begins to overtake.

The honor bell rings its solemn toll,
And pride wells up within her soul.

The flag is folded one last time and placed in her lap,
Her lips quiver as she tries to hold the tears back.

The soldier says, “Ma’am, please accept this flag as a symbol of our appreciation
For your loved one’s service to our nation.”

As the final prayer is spoken and he’s lowered in the ground,
Two soldiers offer a final salute to this man who once stood so proud.

– Jodi M. Kucera

27.) Prelude: The Troops

Dim, gradual thinning of the shapeless gloom
Shudders to drizzling daybreak that reveals
Disconsolate men who stamp their sodden boots
And turn dulled, sunken faces to the sky
Haggard and hopeless. They, who have beaten down
The stale despair of night, must now renew
Their desolation in the truce of dawn,
Murdering the livid hours that grope for peace.

Yet these, who cling to life with stubborn hands,
Can grin through storms of death and find a gap
In the clawed, cruel tangles of his defence.
They march from safety, and the bird-sung joy
Of grass-green thickets, to the land where all
Is ruin, and nothing blossoms but the sky
That hastens over them where they endure
Sad, smoking, flat horizons, reeking woods,
And foundered trench-lines volleying doom for doom.

O my brave brown companions, when your souls
Flock silently away, and the eyeless dead
Shame the wild beast of battle on the ridge,
Death will stand grieving in that field of war
Since your unvanquished hardihood is spent.
And through some mooned Valhalla there will pass
Battalions and battalions, scarred from hell;
The unreturning army that was youth;
The legions who have suffered and are dust.

– Siegfried Sassoon

28.) Untitled

Our thanks to you for all you do
Defending our flag the red, white and blue
As Americans, we know what freedom means
The joy, the peace and the right to dream
Our thoughts and prayers are with you today
As you fight for freedom so far away
May God keep you safe in all that you do
And bring you back home to those who love you.

– Unknown

29.) Facing It

My black face fades,
hiding inside the black granite.
I said I wouldn’t
dammit: No tears.
I’m stone. I’m flesh.
My clouded reflection eyes me
like a bird of prey, the profile of night
slanted against morning. I turn
this way—the stone lets me go.
I turn that way—I’m inside
the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
again, depending on the light
to make a difference.
I go down the 58,022 names,
half-expecting to find
my own in letters like smoke.
I touch the name Andrew Johnson;
I see the booby trap’s white flash.
Names shimmer on a woman’s blouse
but when she walks away
the names stay on the wall.
Brushstrokes flash, a red bird’s
wings cutting across my stare.
The sky. A plane in the sky.
A white vet’s image floats
closer to me, then his pale eyes
look through mine. I’m a window.
He’s lost his right arm
inside the stone. In the black mirror
a woman’s trying to erase names:
No, she’s brushing a boy’s hair.

– Yusef Komunyakee

30.) The Soldier

I pledge allegiance to the American Flag; forever may she wave.
God bless those covered with her as they’re lowered to their grave.
We must not take for granted the freedoms that we share
and the soldiers that protect us in our darkest hour.
Soldiers leave their loved ones to heed their country’s call,
ready to place their lives in danger, willing to give it all.
Sleepless nights and endless days are common, but they know
without the blood of patriots, the freedom tree won’t grow.
Through hail, rain, snow, and heat, blood, sweat, and tears,
they march into the heat of battle, pushing aside their fears.
When the physical battle is over, the mental battle begins.
For some, it’s only temporary, for others, it never ends,
so pray for all of our soldiers, and let us never forget
we can never repay them; we will always be in their debt.

– Gary S. Spears

31.) Not To Keep

They sent him back to her. The letter came
Saying… and she could have him. And before
She could be sure there was no hidden ill
Under the formal writing, he was in her sight—
Living.— They gave him back to her alive—
How else? They are not known to send the dead—
And not disfigured visibly. His face?—
His hands? She had to look—to ask,
“What was it, dear?” And she had given all
And still she had all—they had—they the lucky!
Wasn’t she glad now? Everything seemed won,
And all the rest for them permissible ease.
She had to ask, “What was it, dear?”
“Enough,
Yet not enough. A bullet through and through,
High in the breast. Nothing but what good care
And medicine and rest—and you a week,
Can cure me of to go again.” The same
Grim giving to do over for them both.
She dared no more than ask him with her eyes
How was it with him for a second trial.
And with his eyes he asked her not to ask.
They had given him back to her, but not to keep.

– Robert Frost

Summary

Poetry is an excellent way to convey love and respect to our veterans while reassuring them that their struggles haven’t gone unnoticed. Sadly, the reality today is that many of our veterans suffer from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) from the harrowing experiences they’ve had while on duty. They aren’t very well cared for when they get back to their homeland either, so many of them struggle in their day-to-day life.

Veterans Day poetry does a great job of giving us an insight into their lives and experiences. These poems make for a powerful public message when recited at a Veteran’s Day event or gathering, and if sung in all sincerity, can bring even the most battle-hardened veterans to tears.