So, while I was attempting to sleep my mind reverted back to the day and how it has been set aside to honor veterans of our great country. As I was thinking upon that purpose, I felt a need to express my great appreciation for all who have ever served our country, both living and dead. Needless to say, a few years ago I watched a program on the World War II American cemeteries in Europe and was inspired to write the following poem. May God bless all who have served, those who now serve, and those who will serve in the Armed Forces of the United States of America! And may we as American citizens ever be grateful for their service.
by Brett Hall
April 20, 2003
The day was bright, with a light breeze,
The waves beneath the cliff did break,
And people sauntered with such ease,
Though hallowed, lest the dead they waked.
The grounds, so careful and so clean,
Were so well kept by the new guard,
Who made the grounds on such days glean--
These very grounds that once were scarred.
A visitor upon the site
Had come to view this world of men
Who once had faced an awful plight
So that a greater cause might win.
And so she passed behind a cross
An alabaster monument
Erected for a man whose loss
Would prove the world's own betterment.
And as she walked amid these stones,
In pensive and in grateful mood,
She saw a man of wretched bones
Who on his knees appeared subdued.
He wept, his hand upon a cross,
The other wiped the tears away.
O how he wept for his own loss,
She thought as she beheld him pray.
Her heart grew heavy at the sight
And tears upon her cheek did swell
As a deep sadness reached its height
Within a man who seemed so frail.
She stood and watched as time did pass,
Reflecting on an anguished soul
Who bitterly wept upon the grass,
The tears the dead softly extolled.
Perhaps a fellow man in arms--
Perhaps a father, brother dead--
Perhaps a fellow whose alarms
Prevented yet another dead.
Perhaps a friend from long ago
With whom in school he once did play
Or in the fields on farms did go,
And worked together bucking hay.
Perhaps, perhaps, her mind ran wild
With all the possibility
As she watched an ancient child
Weeping with the weeping sea.
The waves, they rumbled with a sigh,
Remembering the bloody gait
With which so many men did die
As on her shores they met with fate.
His body heaved, the waves washed back,
Launching ever to and fro,
A harmony they did not lack,
A synchronizing ebb and flow.
She stood, the minutes racing by,
And waited for this lovely scene
To pass beneath the blazing sky
And enter in her heart serene.
The man upon his feet did rise
And slowly walked toward her place
And staring deep into her eyes
He reached out with a warm embrace.
She held the stranger fervently
Within her arms and then inquired
In a tone so reverently
About the dead that he admired.
"I know him not," was the reply.
"He's not a relative of mine,
Nor was a friend, this man who died,
Nor anyone with whom I've dined.
I do not know a single soul
Who lies beneath these hallowed stones,
And yet I feel my heart so full
For these whose final breath bemoaned
The pain and anguish suffered here,
So far away on distant sand,
That liberty may yet appear
For one as I in my homeland.
I weep for freedoms that I love
Whose price, in part, cost these men's blood.
I weep for peace, that graceful dove,
Which flies now where once warriors stood.
I weep for liberty divine,
For joy and lasting happiness,
These blessings which I claim as mine
Preserved by those who did enlist.
And here these lie within the earth
While all the world is passing on--
These men in death preserve the birth
Of freedoms which their blood has won."
And so the old man walked away--
Alone the woman in awe stood
Without a word which she could say
She hearkened to her pensive mood.
And kneeling down at a near cross
She also wept with grateful tears
For all the young lives that were lost
To preserve freedom through the years.