What did you do today?

By Lieutenant Dean Shatlin

What did you do today, my friend,
from morning until night?
How many times did you complain
the rationing was too tight?
When are you going to do
all those things you say?
A soldier would like to know, my friend
What did you do today?

We met the enemy today
and took a town by storm.
Happy reading it will make,
but tomorrow you’ll mourn.
You’ll read, with satisfaction
a brief communiqué.
We fought, are you fighting?
What did you do today?

My gunner died in my arms today
I feel his warm blood yet
Your neighbors dying boy gave out
a scream I can’t forget.
On my right a tank was hit,
a flash and then a fire
The smell of burning flesh
still rises from the pyre

What did you do today, my friend
to help us with this task?
Did you work harder, and longer, for less?
Or is that too much to ask?
What right have I to ask you this
You will probably say
But maybe now you’ll understand
You see, I died today.

Lt. Dean Shatlin.
U.S. Army, Tank Commander
WWII, Africa

Lt. Shatlin’s tank was destroyed, he crawled to a nearby fox hole and had to amputate his own foot with a knife. He was found bleeding and unconscious by American soldiers. Although his injuries were severe, Lt. Shatlin did survive.

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