From Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:
A verse from A Psalm of Life
Life is real! Life is earnest!
But the grave is not its goal;
thou art, to dust returnest'
Was not spoken of the soul.
Longfellow also penned the poem below during
the long anguish of the Civil War:
And in despair, I bowed my head,
"There is no peace on earth,"
"For hate is strong, and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, goodwill to men."
the bells more loud and deep;
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, goodwill to men."
In Flanders Fields
By Lt. Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Army, World War I
Written in 1915
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn,
saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
The humble poppy has become
a symbol of remembrance for those who die in battle. The United States can trace the tradition to Moina Michael, an American
teacher. In 1918, she read John McCrae’s poem while working at the YMCA Overseas War Secretaries’
headquarters in New York City. She made a personal pledge to keep the faith with all the soldiers who died and vowed to wear
the red poppy of Flanders Fields as a sign of remembrance, a custom that is still observed in the US on Veterans Day.
Learn more about the red poppy's international history at The Royal Canadian Legion. Sadly, the author of this poingnant poem died of pneumonia at Wimereux, France, on January 28, 1918.
He was 45 years old.
From the Dept. of Veterans Affairs: Veterans Day Frequently Asked Questions
Includes the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day and the
tradition of the red poppy.
By John Gillespie Magee,
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies in laughter-silvered wings;
I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds--and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed
of--wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along,
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew--
And, while with silent lifting mind
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.
John Gillespie Magee was an American who enlisted with the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1940 and graduated as a pilot. He was sent to England for
combat duty in July 1941. In August or September of that year, Magee wrote High Flight and sent a copy to his parents.
He was killed in action over Great Britain on December 11, 1941. Pilot Officer Magee was 19 years old when he died.
The Gettysburg Address
The Battle of Gettysburg occurred over three hot summer days, July 1 to July 3, 1863, around the small market town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. It
began as a skirmish but by its end, it involved 160,000 Americans.
Of the more than 2000
land engagements of the Civil War, Gettysburg ranks supreme. Although the Battle of Gettysburg did not end the war, nor did
it attain any major war aim for the North or the South, it remains the great battle of the war. While many historians consider
it the turning point of the Civil War in favor of the Union, one fact remains undisputed: More
men fought and more men died at Gettysburg than in any other battle before or since on North American soil.
On Nov. 19, 1863, Abraham Lincoln delivered The Gettysburg Address during the dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetery, on the site of the battle that bears its name. The main orator,
Edward Everett of Massachusetts, gave a two-hour formal address. The President then took his turn. He spoke in his high, penetrating voice and the speech was over in less than three minutes.
The brevity of his address surprised many in the audience and left others unimpressed.
time, it has become one of the most famous and most quoted of modern speeches. The final written version differs in detail
from the spoken address, but the following transcription is the only one that Lincoln signed and it appears on the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D. C. It contains the words under God. This phrase seems to be the most notable difference among
the existing forms. According to popular accounts of the day, Lincoln included the two words in question during his oral delivery.
The masterful Gettysburg Address appears below:
Four score and seven years
ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that
all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether
that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war.
We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation
might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But in a larger
sense, we cannot dedicate - we cannot consecrate - we cannot hallow - this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled
here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what
we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished
work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task
remaining before us - that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full
measure of devotion - that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain - that this nation, under God,
shall have a new birth of freedom - and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from
Gettysburg Welcome Center
Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
|Remember Honor Teach
There are no official words to the music of Taps,
Scroll half-way down the
page to view them.
at the military funeral of a fallen hero (KIA) or a veteran of the US Armed Forces.
|A Day of Reflection in Memory of Our Honored Dead
|Click picture for the real meaning of Memorial Day
Memorial Day was first called Decoration Day, a day to pause and decorate the graves of fallen soldiers. It was originally observed May 30, 1868, to honor the Civil War
dead. May 30 was eventually set aside as a solemn day to remember all those who gave their lives in service
to our country. In 1971, Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday and changed the date to the last Monday in May.
Since then, it has been transformed into a three-day weekend introducing summer, with back yard cookouts and mindless retail
sales. The original meaning of the day to commemorate our honored dead is (almost) lost.
Note: Senator Inouye of Hawaii, a World War II veteran, worked from 1989 until his death in 2012
to get a Senate bill passed restoring Memorial Day to May 30. It was never adopted. You can go to USMemorialDay.org to read about Sen. Inouye's efforts and contact your own legislators. The links to the late Senator's site are no longer
Reference and Resource for this section:
National Memorial Day Concert
MemorialDayFoundation.org: The difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day
|The Purple Heart Badge of Merit
|Some gave all...All gave some.
The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor commemorates the
extraordinary sacrifices of America's servicemen and servicewomen who were killed or wounded in combat. The mission of the
Hall of Honor is to collect and preserve the stories of Purple Heart recipients from all branches of service and across generations
to ensure that all recipients are represented.
If you or your
loved one received the Purple Heart, the Hall of Honor needs your help to compile the Honor Roll. The honoree can be living
or dead. I enrolled my father, a WW II veteran, 15 years after his
death. Click on Purple Heart icon above to learn more about
the award that is "sought by none but available to all who serve." Thank you.
National World War II Museum: From the home page: "The National WWII Museum tells the story of the American Experience in the war that changed
the world - why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today - so that all generations will understand the
price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn."
It is the Veteran...Author Unknown
who has given us freedom of religion.
not the reporter,
who has given us freedom of the press.
not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.
not the campus organizer,
who has given us freedom to assemble.
not the lawyer,
who has given us
the right to a fair trial.
not the politician,
Who has given us the right to vote.
It is the
salutes the Flag,
under the Flag.
|Click to Go to Military Funeral Protocol
ETERNAL REST GRANT
THEM, OH LORD, AND
LET PERPETUAL LIGHT SHINE UPON THEM.
When one falls, another brings
|HBO, 2009, with Kevin Bacon
Go to Young Americans
(Current war casualty statistics, roster of fallen soldiers and links)