What is the meaning of [Old soldiers never die]

The proverb ‘Old soldiers never die, they simply fade away’ is a rather melancholic notion that, long after they have outlived the wars they fought, old soldiers are forgotten and their passing ignored.

The proverbial phrase ‘old soldiers never die, they simply fade away’ is widely creditted to J. Foley who is said to have copyrighted a song with that title in 1920. The lyrics of the first verse of the song are:

Old soldiers never die,
Never die, never die,
Old soldiers never die,
They simply fade away.
There are at least two problems with the notion that Foley originated to phrase:

– Foley was born in 1906 and would have been only 14 when the song was copyrighted.

– The expression was mentioned in Siegfried Sassoon’s Counter-attack and Other Poems, which was published in 1918:

‘Old soldiers never die; they simply fide a-why!’ That’s what they used to sing.