A soldier who stands in honor, but still a man beneath the green-
I can't let you go without telling you of all the things you've been to me.
Your duty to defend us wasn't your first job in this world,
You have always been the defender of a certain little girl.
Growing up I drove you nuts but we were there for one another,
So today, unlike any other day, not a soldier but a brother. 

I watched you leave at just eighteen but a war seemed so unreal;
Looking back I would have never known how this could make me feel.
You taught me to be brave-
Stay strong.
All my fears you would unbend.
So today, unlike any other day, not a soldier but a friend.

When all the while I was looking up, someone else was looking down.
To help you find your place in life-
And help you find your ground.
To stand up to the world with you,
To make sure you always won.
So today, unlike any other day, not a soldier but a son.

The last gift you have given us-
Though there's many more that you will give,
Is in the eyes of another girl, the one who's smile is why you live.
She hasn't asked for anything, except your love
When some wouldn't bother.
So today, unlike any other day, not a soldier but a father.

Now you see why it's so hard to watch you on your way
Because you've been so many things to all of us before today.
We'll be there through this with you-
We'll be waiting till your home;
Because we're forever in your heart...
You'll never walk alone.

In Loving Memory of: Paul Andrew Gardner

Click here to visit Paul's memorial page.