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ONLY A VOLUNTEER

Permission of the author and the Independent, Kansas City

Why didn't I wait to be drafted
And led to the train with a band,
And put in a claim for exemption,
Oh, why didn't I hold up my hand?
Why didn't I wait for a banquet,
Why didn't I wait for a cheer;
Why didn't I wait to be drafted
Instead of a volunteer?


And nobody gave me a banquet,
Nobody said a kind word;
The puff of the engine,
The grind of the wheels,
Was the only good-by I heard,
Then off to the camp I hustled
To be trained for the next half year,
And in the shuffle forgotten;
I was only a volunteer.


Perhaps some day in the future,
When my little boy sits on my knee
And asks what I did in the Great War,
And his little eyes look up at me,
I will have to look back into those eyes
That at me so trustingly peer
And tell him I wasn't drafted,
I was only a volunteer.

Corporal Richard D. Irwin