Happy Memorial Day

BROOKWOOD, England (May 29, 2011) Chief Musician Guy L. Gregg, from the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa band, plays taps during a Memorial Day service at Brookwood American Cemetery and Memorial. Brookwood American Cemetery and Memorial is one of eight overseas American cemeteries and the resting place of 468 Americans who died in World War I. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jennifer L. Jaqua/Released)

by Helen Leah Reed

No warrior he, a village lad,
      needing nor words nor other prod
  To point his duty; he was glad
      to tread the path his fathers trod.
  Week days he worked in wood and field;
      with homely joys he decked his life;
  The sword of hate he would not wield,
      nor take a part in cankering strife.
  On Sunday in the little choir
      he sang of Peace and brotherly love,
  And as his thoughts soared higher and higher,
      they reached unmeasured heights above.

  A cry for Freedom rent the Land--
      "Our Country calls, come, come, 'tis War;
  Together let us firmly stand;"
      he answered, though his heart beat sore
  At leaving home, and kin, and one
      in whose fond eyes too late he read
  That life for her had but begun
      with the farewells he sadly said.

  A half a century has passed--
      and more--since all those myriads fell;
  For he was one of those who cast
      sweet life into a Battle's hell.
  The village has become a town,
      brick buildings the old graveyard gird;
  Of him who fought not for renown,
      no one now hears a spoken word,
  But on the Monument his name
      in gold is lettered with the rest.
  Without a sordid thought of fame
      he to his Country gave his best.

  Strew flowers, then, Memorial Day
      for him, for all who for us fought.
  With speech and music honors pay;
      teach what our brave defenders taught.
  And now our sons are setting out;
      the call for Right rings to the sky,
  "Our Country! Freedom!" hear them shout,
      re-echoing their Grandsires' cry.