Memorial Day Poem – Twenty-one Guns

Twenty-one Guns

The tour bus rumbles past
the quiet monuments to the fallen.
Shutters click as the tour guide
speaks the litany of the shrine,
that once was the Lee estate.
Now it is that hallowed ground
where solders come for that long rest.

The Quick rumble passed the carved stones
of the Dead, that once placed
boots of war on their feet.
Their soles now silent.
Now day-trippers take aim and fire.
Cameras, not rifles.
Pictures, not prisoners taken.

The bus stops. The microphone is silent.
To the left a horse pulls a caisson carrying a flag-draped box
That contains a name who once walked.
The warrior sent at our command.
The sightseer sees and falls silent
And hears the echo of guns.
Three volleys and then the mournful notes.

Boys became men
And men became names
And names became graves
Gone is the sun,
Day is done.
God is Nigh.



I’ve posted this poem before, but it seems right to repeat it.


About Andrew Reynolds

Born in California Did the school thing studying electronics, computers, release engineering and literary criticism. I worked in the high tech world doing software release engineering and am now retired. Then I got prostate cancer. Now I am a blogger and work in my wood shop doing scroll saw work and marquetry.
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11 Responses to Memorial Day Poem – Twenty-one Guns

  1. CJ Hartwell says:

    This is a good one. Very heartfelt.
    Well, they’re all good ones but you know what I mean. It’s extra good. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautifully expressed. I like the whole poem, but particularly the last stanza – simple and poignant.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Debra says:

    What a poignant and meaningful poem, Andrew. It’s very special.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. GP Cox says:

    Another outstanding poem, Andrew. So apropos.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Definitely right to re-post as we pause to remember.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Doesn’t get better than this, Andrew. GP Cox over at Pacific Paratrooper has another great one–Just a Common Soldier (

    Liked by 2 people

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