In 2011, APSU student Taira McAfee’s poem “A Soldier” was published in World Poetry Movement’s “Stars in Our Hearts.”
McAfee’s poem continues to be published in Clarksville Family magazine annually on Veterans and Memorial Day.
“I wrote ‘A Soldier’ in 2004,” McAffee said. “For the soldiers of course, but I also had the women in mind, the daughters, wives, and sisters.”
McAfee received his undergraduate in special education from APSU and has returned as a graduate student with a major in special education and a minor in creative writing.
In between his degrees he was a substitute teacher for the Montgomery County school system, and continued to be a freelance poet contributing to local magazines and newspapers.
McAfee has been writing poetry long before the publication of “A Soldier”, in 1989 he received the Golden Poet Award for his poem “When Winter Comes” from World Poetry Movement.
McAfee comes from a proud family of veterans, but his goal is to honor all veterans not just the ones he has a personal connection to.
“A soldier’s life is very important,” said McAfee. “They leave their family to protect my family. All soldiers should be acknowledged. It is not just about the ones we hold dear.”
According to McAfee, his poem was best way to communicate how important a soldier’s life is.
“Things that are written have a tendency to linger in our minds because it is from the heart,” McAfee said.
In addition to giving honor to veterans, “A Soldier” was intended to keep the military men and women legacy alive. McAfee wants his audience to understand that just because the veteran they know is no longer serving, it does not mean they should forget about the ones who have not yet returned.
McAfee said he is excited to announce he is currently working with APSU’s music department and Professor Anne Glass to convert “A Soldier” into a song.
Throughout the year, especially around Veterans Day, McAfee’s poem is on display on campus in places such as the Military Student Center and ROTC offices.
McAfee said he hopes his poem gives students the chance to ponder the sacrifices made by the families of all who serve as well as the soldiers who have been or are still far away from home.