Saturday, November 11, 2017

Do You?

At this time of year, it's fitting to remember why it is we have the freedom to live and express ourselves as we do. Sometimes, the younger generation forgets how much they owe to those they often ridicule. 

Those of us who are older know better.

If I may, I'd like to share a little something I wrote some years back following a reunion.
I hope you like it:

Never Forget

The trumpet wails,
Its solitary lament reminding me,
Of duty, of sacrifice,
But most of all, of deep abiding loss.
A wreath of encircled heads fly at half mast about me.
Lowering in respect, they set like a flag, with the setting of the sun…
We shan’t forget.

I don’t need a flower or a monument of stone.
For the scars of war are threaded deep,
Wounds that pierce through the generations of my family,
Stitching grief within my heart, grafting pain to my memories.
Fields of green, crosses of white, roots stained ruby red,
This is my heritage…
And I can’t forget.

How many of my family never knew kith and kin,
Except through faded photo or by crumbling citation?
I look at history, now, as I write,
Framed there–in pride of place–upon my wall.
Six generations worth of gaily colored ribbon and shiny metal,
Masking the worth of the blood that was spilt, and the true poignant cost of war…
I won’t forget.

Did my Great-grandfather, William, ever get to kiss his wife goodbye?
Or Granddad Fred, tussle the hair of his own precious son?
How many actually left, promising sincerely they would return?
All of them, I’m sure.
With a stiff upper lip and a brave farewell, they concealed their heavy hearts.
All marched away…But, oh so few came back…
I mustn’t forget.

Because who will remain to tell their story?
Remember! The pages of history turn more quickly than we know,
And squander the harvest of such hard won labors.
A freedom to assemble, to riot and protest,
Condemning the sacrifices of the brave to the gutter...
Well not I!
Nor those in my family, either, who like me, leapt into the breach, time and time again…

We will never forget.

(A constant reminder to myself...No matter what uniform I wear.
From little boy to man, our legacy continues.)