About the Poem 

The poem, I Am a Veteran, was written by Andrea Brett in 2002, three years after The Brett Family began performing in Branson, Missouri. As part of the patriotic tribute in The Bretts Show, Andrea wanted to create something original that would give honor to the military veterans who attended.  Each day at intermission and after the show, Andrea visited with veterans and heard their stories and felt the love they have for their country and the pride they have in their service.  She was moved and inspired by their sacrifice.  She was always surprised by how such average looking people had such amazing and often heroic stories to tell.  Over time, as she pondered these conversations, their stories began to take the shape of a poem. Each line of the poem represents a person Andrea personally met or was told about.  The words in the poem are symbolic of the experiences of all veterans who have their own story to tell.

Since the writing of I Am a Veteran, Andrea has recited it thousands of times to veterans all across the country. She continues to be inspired by these men and women and loves hearing their stories.

The complete story of the poem is in the book, I Am a Veteran.  



"No person was ever honored for what he received.  Honor has been the reward for what he gave." 

Calvin Coolidge





"Not for kings nor for glory, but for the one I call my brother."




by Andrea Christensen Brett


You may not know me the first time we meet 

I’m just another you see on the street

But I am the reason you walk and breathe free 

 I am the reason for your liberty




I work in the local factory all day

I own the restaurant just down the way

I sell you insurance, I start your IV

I’ve got the best-looking grandkids you’ll ever see


I’m your grocer, your banker

Your child’s schoolteacher

I’m your plumber, your barber

Your family’s preacher

But there’s part of me you don’t know very well

Just listen a moment, I’ve a story to tell




I joined the service while still in my teens

I traded my prom dress for camouflage greens

I’m the first in my family to do something like this

I followed my father, like he followed his


Defying my fears and hiding my doubt

I married my sweetheart before I shipped out

I missed Christmas, then Easter

The birth of my son

But I knew I was doing what had to be done


I served on the battlefront, I served on the base

I bound up the wounded

And begged for God’s grace

I gave orders to fire, I followed commands

I marched into conflict in far distant lands


In the jungle, the desert, on mountains and shores

In bunkers, in tents, on dank earthen floors

While I fought on the ground, in the air, on the sea

My family and friends were home praying for me


For the land of the free and the home of the brave

I faced my demons in foxholes and caves

Then one dreaded day, without drummer or fife   

I lost an arm, my buddy lost his life


I came home and moved on

But forever was changed

The perils of war in my memory remained

I don’t really say much, I don’t feel like I can

But I left home a child, and came home a man


There are thousands like me

Thousands more who are gone

But their legacy lives as time marches on

White crosses in rows

And names carved in queue

Remind us of what these brave souls had to do 


I’m part of a fellowship, a strong mighty band

Of each man and each woman

Who has served this great land

And when Old Glory waves

I stand proud, I stand tall                     

I helped keep her flying over you, over all



Copyright Andrea C. Brett  2003 All rights reserved


"My fellow Americans,

Ask not what your country can do for you.  Ask what you can do for your country."

John. F. Kennedy




"Not all angels reside in heaven.  Many walk the battlefield."