John Lundberg published a nice compilation of Memorial Day poems here today and I thought I'd share a couple that touched me as we remember those that gave their lives for our rights to daily argue political philosophy.
I shot a man yesterday
And much to my surprise,
The strangest thing happened to me
I began to cry.
He was so young, so very young
And Fear was in his eyes,
He had left his home in Germany
And came to Holland to die.
And what about his Family
were they not praying for him?
Thank God they couldn't see their son
And the man that had murdered him.
I knelt beside him
And held his hand--
I begged his forgiveness
Did he understand?
It was the War
And he was the enemy
If I hadn't shot him
He would have shot me.
I saw he was dying
And I called him "Brother"
But he gasped out one word
And that word was "Mother."
I shot a man yesterday
And much to surprise
A part of me died with Him
When Death came to close
-James Lenihan; fought in Europe during World War II as a sergeant in the 104th Infantry Division.
Shiny as wax, the cracked veneer Scotch-taped and brittle. I can't bring my father back. Legs crossed, he sits there brash
with a private's stripe, a world away
from the war they would ship him to
within days. Cannons flank his face
and banners above him like the flag
my mother kept on the mantel, folded tight,
white stars sharp-pointed on a field of blue.
I remember his fists, the iron he pounded,
five-pound hammer ringing steel,
the frame he made for a sled that winter
before the war. I remember the rope in his fist
around my chest, his other fist
shoving the snow, and downhill we dived,
his boots by my boots on the tongue,
pines whishing by, ice in my eyes, blinking
and squealing. I remember the troop train,
steam billowing like a smoke screen.
I remember wrecking the sled weeks later
and pounding to beat the iron flat,
but it stayed there bent
and stacked in the barn by the anvil,
and I can't bring him back.
And one for the kiddos:
by Roger Robicheau
Each Purple Heart shall always be
Hold deep inside a fervent pride
They showed their best for liberty
Their wound of war, their Purple Heart
Some bore a wound which took their life
True patriots, they faced their call
Deep scars of war are carried by
Pray for the brave, their loved ones too