Poem by Mary Ellen Keen, wife of the commander of the 75th Ranger Regiment

The Black Beret
Mary Ellen Keen

I lie awake and cry tonight the tears of hurt and grief and loss,
For today a symbol of pride and sacrifice became merely another scrap of cloth.

It may be hard to understand why I feel such sorrow, so betrayed,
But the sacrifices were our families as well, so my husband could wear that black beret.

It was a choice, not lightly made to live the Ranger Creed each day,
But honor and brotherhood were worth the price for the privilege to serve in this gallant way.

The crowning glory of brave men who EARNED it through blood, sweat and tears,
Is stripped now of all the precious significance built on courage and valor through the years.

It's not the hat makes the man, but the man beneath the hat,
But the Ranger spirit has been dealt a blow and was not a sword, but a whim has done that.

You can't make a soldier more elite by giving an honor undeserved,
It only stands to tarnish cherished meaning for those who gave all and their country served.

I've looked into the sapient eyes of many heroes of that black beret,
And I know that we have failed them by letting the symbol of their sacrifice be given away.

It truly breaks my heart to know we will not now constantly reflect On the debt our country owes these men,
as we lose the most tangible symbol for their respect.

Every soldier should be proud if his service from his heart does come,
But the black beret is an honor reserved for those who give one hundred percent and then some.

With pride and understanding, I wanted my children and their children to say
My husband is truly an extraordinary man for he wore the Ranger's black beret.