Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

Barb Ryman: Music/Listen

Soldier's Daughter

(© Barb Ryman)


I wrote this song to help people feel the costs of war at a personal level.  It's when we feel it emotionally that our passion & compassion move us to seek change. Our current wars trouble me deeply, arousing memories of the death of my father so many years ago who was a casualty of the Cold War.  Not many know there were casualties in that war because it was fought covertly.  But war is war and my heart breaks for our soldiers, the civilian casualties, and the profound loss their families suffer. This song travels in the voice of the fallen soldier speaking to his daughter.  This song is dedicated to the memory of my father, Donald Arthur Bowman. 


You hardly knew me, but I am your father

I got to know you while you were a toddler

Climbing on my knee

You taught me how love could be so free


You are my daughter and I was a soldier

I told you and your brother who was older

That I’d be home again

But I never made it in


I was a casualty of an invisibly raging war

Cold War missions overseas

Six months out I longed to be

With your mother and you so

But my plane went down before

I could return to you


I still saw you from another place

I remember your beautiful face

Turning into stone

My baby girl all alone


I wanted to hold you, I wanted to cry

The thousands of tears that were locked behind your eyes

But I could not get through

Oh my child, I love you


You were a refugee of an invisibly raging war

No arms to break your fall

No man standing tall

No daddy’s name to call

Just the photo on the wall


I saw you withdraw from your friends at play

When the conversations turned to Fathers Day

I would whisper in your ear

I’m with you, please, please hear


I saw you in Washington protesting the war

As your heart was breaking for the man you adored

There was nothing I could do

As I watched history repeating in you


We were casualties of an invisibly raging war

It was the war nobody saw

But a war just like them all

Leaving names engraved in stone

Sons and daughters all alone