Memorial Day

This is a poem I wrote many years ago after a visit to Arlington National Cemetery. It’s one I like to post on Memorial Day. Let us all take a moment to remember the fallen.


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 past 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.

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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21 Responses to Memorial Day

  1. Dave says:

    The final stanza is so powerful Andrew, and the poem gains strength as it goes. Intentional or not, your words grabbed on slowly until I was reading with complete attention and a virtual salute. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Debra says:

    A friend of mine was laid to rest in Arlington, May 4th of this year. I think your poem is absolutely wonderful, Andrew. You’ve caught the tension between decades of sacrifice and honor with the reality of our curiosity, greeting the solemnity as tourists. I hope you do post this every year.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m thinking this will become an yearly thing for me. I wrote it many years ago and put it up here a couple of times. I’ve always thought I could write something better, but so far I haven’t.

      Like

  3. Baydreamer says:

    Poignant and heart-tugging…

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Simone E says:

    Meaningful and very profound. I especially liked “names that could once walk.” Very poetic and beautifully written.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A wonderful and heartwrenching poem.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I remember my trip there. I love that we revere our warriors.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I remembered this from last year and shared it on Twitter this morning. Very poignant.

    Liked by 3 people

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