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Leo Schoenbeck
Leo Schoenbeck

My Father’s Special Place

Nov 14, 2011

This past weekend we remembered and commemorated our veterans. Given that South Dakota had a higher percentage of their male population in uniform in World War II than any other state, there was a near universal experience about the effect of the veteran’s service on the veteran and their family. The challenge we face as a citizenry going forward is remembering how that service impacted and shaped the many South Dakotans it touched. This is one son’s effort to memorialize that service by one vet. 

My Father’s Special Place

It’s a special place,
            over there, where that soldier lays at rest.
He was a farmer’s son,
           who throughout life gave his best.

He learned life’s values on the farm,
            and when Grandpa died,
It was Dad who raised the family,
           safe from harm. 

When the nation called him,
            to foreign soil
He left that farm,
            to do his share of America’s toil. 

But after the War was over,
            he returned to his special place.
Became a husband, a father,
            a contributor to our part of the human race.

Well, several years ago,
            we laid that soldier to rest.
No titles, no monuments,
            to testify to his best.

No — rather,
            the values he left were his legacy.
They came wrapped in that folded flag,
            that day you gave to me.

Now I am just a mechanic’s son,
            and when my race is finally run
I pray my son can say with pride,
            that I’ve earned the right to be buried at that soldier’s side. 

And if he can, then I will pass to grace,
            honorably buried over there, by that special place.

Lee Schoenbeck grew up in Webster, practices law in Watertown, and is a freelance writer for the South Dakota Magazine website.


06:55 am - Tue, November 15 2011
Bernard D. Schmit said:
A kind and gentle man who, along with my sister, raised a large family of great kids.


08:46 pm - Tue, November 15 2011
Bernie Hunhoff said:
Beautifully written. Lee, is your dad buried in the cemetery just south of Webster with the military crosses?
06:48 am - Wed, November 16 2011
Heidi said:
What a beautiful tribute to your dad Lee.
07:52 am - Wed, November 16 2011
anonymous said:
Bernie -- yes, that's where dad is buried
05:27 am - Tue, November 11 2014
Lois said:
Beautiful tribute to our Dad! Thanks Lee!
06:16 am - Tue, November 11 2014
Sandra Farrow said:
your words eloquently capture the essence of your father....
06:30 am - Tue, November 11 2014
Mary Dent said:

This is such a beautiful and touching article.
Your dad was truly one of a kind!
He did a great job of teaching and loving his family.
05:38 am - Mon, November 13 2017
Mary Lea Yseth said:
Beautifully written, heartfelt tribute to your Dad Lee. I’m sure he’s smiling down on you.

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