Herbert Eugene “Gene” Boyd is an entertaining man. When he is storytelling he draws on his past experiences. Stories about being orphaned before he was three years old and being taken in by his grandparents and being raised in the Richland, Missouri area of the Ozark Mountains. He tells about how he and his six siblings were split up after the loss of their parents. He talks about how lucky they were that they were all taken in by loving family members and not handed off to be reared by strangers as sometimes happens to orphaned little ones. You can see the chuckle in his eyes when he tells about “running to town”. Gene used to run to town a little differently than you or I would today. He literally ran. And town was more than ten miles away. Gene ran so often and so far that his daughters found it odd that their playmates fathers didn’t run like their daddy did. He tells stories about the birthday parties that were thrown for his daughters, different ages, all three share the same birthday. He tells stories about the creek that runs through his family farm. A story that he didn’t tell, but that his wife brought up was the story about how he missed his chance to participate in the Olympics trials as a runner. The opportunity passed him by because of funding. He wasn’t able to raise enough money in his cash strapped community to make the journey.
I got the feeling that Gene doesn’t dwell on chances that have slipped by. Gene is man who will silently sacrifice his wants and desires, even his own needs, for his family and his loved ones -and for his country. Gene is a Veteran, a Korean War Veteran. Two of his brothers, Charles H. Boyd and Raymond L. Boyd, are also Veterans, both having served in World War II. He doesn’t tell stories about the sacrifices that he and his battle buddies made during their military service. But, you can see a hint of them in his eyes. And you can feel them in Gene’s words. Gene is also a poet. He writes poems about the things that he loves- a poem about that little creek on the farm (which he can recite verbatim when asked), and poems that pay tribute to and honor the defenders of our freedoms, his fellow Veterans.
Recently Gene, and his wife & daughters, were able to hear two of his poems read by Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler during a meet and greet in Saint Robert, Missouri. Congresswoman Hartzler presented Mr. Boyd with a Challenge Coin from the United States House of Representatives and two more for each of his brothers. Shortly after this meeting, Arlington National Cemetery posted Gene’s poem “Tribute to the Unknown Soldier” to their Facebook page for millions to see and read. What did this storyteller say after seeing his poem on their page? “Strange seein’ something you wrote on there ain’t it?”. We hope that Gene’s next poem is about his deserved time in the spotlight!
Thank You to the Boyd brothers for your service!
Tribute to the Unknown Soldier by Gene Boyd
As I stand here all alone,
I wonder where this boy called home.
Did he walk by the sandy seashore?
Or plod the desert’s burning floor.
Did he climb the mighty mountain main?
Or till the soil of the fruited plain.
Did he descend from the people who lived by the river,
and hunted their game with bow and quiver?
Did his people long since forgotten
Toil in the sun in the fields of cotton?
Was he a miner’s son from the Cumberland Mountains?
Or a city boy who drank from a fountain.
Here lies our son under American sod,
Known not to man, but known surely to God.
Remembering Them by Gene Boyd
In our lives busy ebb and flow
We forget those crosses that stand row after row
On foreign fields where now only flowers grow.
When you see a person who is old, stooped and gray,
Did you ever think what might have made them that way?
When we were young, like you, happy and gay;
The Army came and sent most of us away.
We left our homes, went over the world,
Every where our flag was unfurled’
We left our homes, lifted our chin, not knowing when or if
Ever we’d see it again.
We stood alone, in those foreign lands of jungle, forests
And burning sand.
They fought in the fields of mud and clay;
And left rivers of blood on the way.
These young men both short and tall;
Some came back with one leg, some came back with none at all.
We know not now or ever will;
Know the thoughts of those dead, whose time will forever stand still.
So stride for stride, with God on their side;
They carried our banner through.
And in the end, she flew high;
Old Glory the red, white and blue.
So, when you them to grizzled and dirty they be,
Give them the respect and honor they deserve –
Because they are why we still breathe Free!
To the younger generation
So with Failing hands but our head held high,
We’ll pass that banner
As you march by.