Memorial Day Verse - "It is the Soldier, not the . . ."

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Mon May 27 17:42:13 UTC 2013

Today Barry Popik asked some list members about a popular verse using
the repeated motif "It is the veteran, not the . . . ". He traced it
back to November 1997 and suggested sharing the query with ADS-L.

There is a variant using a motif of "It is the soldier, not the . .
.". I performed a preliminary exploration of this version in March
2012. Here is some data.

In June 1993 a columnist in Texas attributed a version of the saying
to "Father Denis E. O'Brien, M.M., of St. Pius X in Casa View."

[ref] 1993 June 13, Dallas Morning News, Semper Fidelis isn't just a
motto for him by Jim Wright, Page 7J, Dallas, Texas (NewsBank Access
World News) [/ref]

[Begin excerpt]
Father O'Brien has no problems reconciling his life as a man of the
cloth these past 40 years and those early years when he was a man of
the Corps. As he made clear in these words of his Memorial Day
invocation for the sacrifices by all the young Americans who have
fought for their country:

"It is the soldier , not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the
press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of
speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us
freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who
serves beneath the flag and whose coffin is draped by the flag who
allows the protester to burn the flag."
[End excerpt]

Ann Landers credited Father Denis Edward O'Brien in a column published
in November 1999.

Wikquote has an entry advancing a claim of coinage by a person named
Charles Province. The Wiki history indicated that the entry was
created "14 November 2005". The entry does not give a date for the
coinage. The webpage the entry points to has the following line:
"Copyright Charles M. Province, 1970, 2005":


[Begin forwarded email excerpt]

From: Barry Popik
Date: Mon, May 27, 2013 at 11:08 AM
Subject: "It is the veteran  not the..." verse authorship?

Who wrote "It is the veteran, not the..." verses and when?
The poem has several verses that credit the veteran for giving us our
freedoms. It has sprung out of nowhere to become THE POEM of countless
emails every Memorial Day (and Veterans Day).
Google News has it since at least 1997:
The Gazette : West Branch man preserves memories of Civil...
$3.50 -
The Gazette - Nov 11, 1997
WEST BRANCH - It is the veteran, not the press, who gives us freedom
of the press. It is the veteran, not the poet, who gives us freedom of
speech. It is the ...

[End forwarded email excerpt]

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list