I will say this much……. Those who have not served will never fully understand the bonds that develop between those who trusted each other with their lives and futures. Policemen and Firemen have similar experiences. Wives and girlfriends can’t quite fathom why their ‘significant others’ would leave in the middle of the night to help out a friend whom they hadn’t heard from in years. A late night call, a word from a friend, and that was all it took, because those promises never waned. And thus it’s ever been.
During the American Civil War, an officer of the 47th New York Infantry wrote a number of stories, poems and newspaper clippings that were widely published. Charles G. Halpine wrote under the pseudonym “Miles O’Rielly“, and one of his best works reflects that universal bond between veterans and their comrades.
It is titled “The Same Canteen“.
There are bonds of all sorts in this world of ours, Fetters of friendship and ties of flowers, And true lover’s knots, I ween; The girl and the boy are bound by a kiss, But there’s never a bond, old friend, like this, We have drank from the same Canteen!It was sometimes water, and sometimes milk, And sometimes apple-jack “fine as silk;” But whatever the tipple has been We shared it together in bane or bliss, And I warm to you, friend, when I think of this, We drank from the same Canteen! The rich and great sit down to dine, They quaff to each other in sparkling wine, From glasses of crystal and green; But I guess in their golden potations they miss The warmth of regard to be found in this, We drank from the same Canteen! We have shared our blankets and tents together, And have marched and fought in all kinds of weather, And hungry and full we have been; Had days of battle and days of rest, But this memory I cling to and love the best, We drank from the same Canteen! For when wounded I lay on the center slope, With my blood flowing fast and so little hope Upon which my faint spirit could lean; Oh! then I remember you crawled to my side, And bleeding so fast it seemed both must have died, We drank from the same Canteen!
That's a fine piece of writing. God Bless all of them.