Every four years, this country is justifiably enmeshed in its pride for our Olympic athletes, so we send ‘herograms’ to them. Yet, we might do well to ponder awhile and give credit to those unsung heroes who volunteer in charity work around this country day in and year out. They not only tend to the needy but they save the taxpayer from an enormous financial burden. They carry out their unglamorous roles at such outlets as St. Vincent de Paul, Lifeline, The Brotherhood of St. Lawrence, The Salvation Army and many others.
In the war zone of Vietnam, ‘The Sally Man’, even there, could not be deterred. Each was loved and respected by every soldier, regardless of the latter’s religious faith, or lack of it.
This poem is a ‘herogram’ to all of these people ... who gave without taking!
♪♪ Somewhere there’s hunger and somewhere there’s a war;
But I can do nothing, so I’ll just ignore,
The cruelty around me, pretending I’m blind;
In case I start thinking, and wake up my mind. ♪♪
- from the song Wake Up My Mind by The Uglys, 1968.
“All that is needed for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing!”
- Edmund Burke (18th Century U.S. Statesman).
Nui Dat Sally Van Kokoda Sally Hut Civilian Shopping Centres
The 'Sally Man'
The 'Sally Man'
Thirty years ago when just a lad,
In a far off foreign land,
Away from all these comforts here,
I met a dear old Sally Man.
’Twas at BHQ, in his large marquee,
Where he lived there, on his own;
A place to go for a private chat,
Or just spend some time alone.
There were various books and magazines,
A dart-board hung on the wall;
Providing a few of life’s simple things,
Almost, at our ‘beck and call’.
A smile, a nod or a few cheery words,
Tea or coffee in a mug to drink;
Sweet biscuits packed in an Arnott’s tin,
He to the real world was our link.
He’d lend an ear if you needed that,
Problems you just might want to share;
So it was great to have that place to go,
And that man who seemed to care.
Sometimes he’d venture, ‘beyond the wire’,
With that red shield upon his van;
Respected and much appreciated,
Was our very own Sally Man.
Although holding rank, these officers,
Unlike the military, and some others,
Regard us all as being equal,
As if their sisters and their brothers.
That Army’s work goes on today,
Never ending, of that I’m sure;
Both men and women proudly wear it,
A welfare badge to fight ‘their war’.
Poverty has no end in sight,
Seems someone always stands in need;
People, perhaps, unlucky in life,
After clothing or just a feed.
So whilst sitting in your local pub,
You may hear that rattling box;
A yearly visit at your own front door,
A smiling face there when each knocks.
They may like a chat, for just awhile,
So don’t allow them to pass on by;
Accept their thanks and humble gift, in return,
Their newspaper called ‘War Cry’.
When I see them next, out on their beat,
I’ll donate all that I can,
And perhaps repay some of those deeds,
Of that dear old Sally Man.