Today is a special day in the United States where we honor our veterans.
It is our opportunity to thank and celebrate all those who have served our country in military service. Thank you for your service!
Last year Andrew Budek-Schmeisser posted these great words. They are perfect for this day:
They did not have deferments,
or parents in high places,
yet death has still same permanence;
do you recall their faces?
They went at the draft board call,
didn’t flee across the border,
and now their names are on the Wall
in fate’s calendar-order.
How will you honour memory
of men who were betrayed
by a country turned from victory
as the Great Game was yet played?
The Wall offers this introspection;
behind their names is your reflection.
Then he created a second piece:
As you walk on down the road
you walk with silent hosts
of the ones who bore the load,
and are to us as ghosts
whose hands will never guide a child,
whose voices will be heard no more;
they stood against a world gone wild,
and God has closed the door,
behind which He will dry their tears,
and mend both limbs and hearts,
and we must wait down through the years,
and waiting, play our parts
in effort, and whatever cost
to validate what they have lost.
God bless all our veterans and may we always retain the fire to remain free.
Thank you, Andrew, for putting our thoughts into words. Thank you, Steve, for sharing this. Thank you, veterans, for your service and sacrifice.
And thank you, Shirlee. You posted—almost verbatim—what I planned to say. 🙏🏻🇺🇸
Thank you Steve for posting this inspiring and powerful poem by our own laureate. With deference to our wonderful friend Andrew, I would humbly add my own reflection of this day.
On this day I raise a flag
Its just something that I do
It isn’t cause I want to brag
Lord knows I’ve no reason to
I think it’s about remembrance
Which these days is something rare
Of when they danced the deadly dance
And did what now we wouldn’t dare
Look up today, toward Heaven’s gate
And look back down at those alive
Pray for all whatever their fate
Those at peace, and who still strive
We must remember what has past
And what it is we must hold fast.
Steve, I’m so honoured.
God bless you and your team, everyone in this community, and, with all my heart, all those who have served…
…and who will serve.
Eleventh month, eleventh day,
eleventh minute of same hour
when the stillness came to stay
the steely blade and iron power
that had rent a sturdy earth
according to a devil’s plan
that sought to prevent rebirth…
and had done far worse to man.
There are none now who remain
who can take you by the hand,
tell you of the loss and pain
as you walk a now-healed land,
but you may yet find dusty shelves
where their words tell of their selves.
Andrew, your poetry is a gift to mankind. Thank you for such deep, thought-provoking sentiments.
Roberta, I am honoured beyond words.
I am choosing a favorite—the second poem. The imagery and carefully chosen words are powerful and sobering…and then I am challenged to add my part. This poem so concisely embodies so much. Thank you, Andrew.
Jana, thank YOU.
Beautiful poetry. Thank you Andrew and Steve for sharing it.
I had the honor of interviewing a WWII veteran, 98-year-old Charlie Henderson, in 2020 in order to include his story in the “Forever Young Veterans” anthology. We did our interviews by phone since it was the year of Covid and Charlie lived a couple of hundred miles away from us. I would send each draft to Charlie and his nephew to review and they would respond with corrections and suggestions. When I submitted the final copy to the anthology editors, they were very happy with the result. https://www.amazon.com/Forever-Young-Veterans-Stories-Sacrifice/dp/B0BLB35WSN
Charlie’s nephew called me about a year ago to let me know Charlie had died. He told me how happy and proud Charlie was of the story I wrote. He said Charlie wanted me to know how grateful he was. I told him he had it backwards. I was the one who was grateful to Charlie and all the others who have served.
Thank you for these moving reminders of what these men and women gave for their country. Truly, they were ‘living sacrifices.’
A lovely and moving poem indeed. But it seems more appropriate to Memorial Day since the wall names those who gave their lives. Today is also for those of us who made it through and are alive to tell the tale.
Sister Georjean ALLENBACH
Thank you for this beautiful poem and tribute!
It is a great privilege to serve, I was in the United States Air Force Nurse Corp for 4 years 1967-1971 and am so grateful for the experience! It was a tragic time in American history, and the wounded in soul and spirit still suffer, but to be appreciated is a gift toward healing!
I am grateful to everyone who serves in active duty, you learn much and we need to support our countries!!! God bless you!!!
Andrew sent me a very brief email asking me to thank everyone who was so kind in their comments. He passed out before he got to respond to all the comments, and he doesn’t have the energy to do it right now.
L Sanders Fields
Below is my tribute to our veterans written a few years ago
IF I HAD A TRUMPET
If I had a trumpet and could play it well,
I’d blast it to the highest heavens;
The thunderous melody would swell
Till it filled all America,
And then way beyond.
Each powerful note, with the strongest, sweetest melody,
Would drive to the gates of hell every howling, cowardly voice
That wouldn’t lift a finger to defend their own,
Yet wasted much energy bringing our valiant soldiers low
While they spilled their blood serving them heart and soul.
Willingly standing in harm’s way
As the politicians checked the polls
Would they let them free a nation, and return from a foreign land?
No. Congress trembled in their political boots,
Their elections were at hand.
With an honorable, obedient heart, America’s soldier stood his ground,
Or was carried from the battle, his life’s blood left on foreign soil.
And if alive, welcomed home by the confetti of cowards;
Those wicked voices of descent hurling unfounded accusations
At OUR BOYS! America’s best! At airports, at home,
On American soil, our great, American soldiers insulted for duty’s call.
Today, with so few gathered
My magical trumpet is just mere words,
And this faulty attempt,
To heap on America’s very best
The least that they deserve;
“THANK YOU” FOR SERVING MY COUNTRY.
L Sanders Fields