Wednesday, November 11, 2009

For Veterans Day

Note to family and friends: Updates on Mr. AOW are now being added to this post.

I posted the following last year for Veterans Day and am reposting it again this year:

"The Things That Make a Soldier Great"
by Edgar Guest (1881-1959):

The things that make a soldier great and send him out to die,
To face the flaming cannon's mouth nor ever question why,
Are lilacs by a little porch, the row of tulips red,
The peonies and pansies, too, the old petunia bed,
The grass plot where his children play, the roses on the wall:
'Tis these that make a soldier great.
He's fighting for them all.

'Tis not the pomp and pride of kings that make a soldier brave;
'Tis not allegiance to the flag that over him may wave;
For soldiers never fight so well on land or on the foam
As when behind the cause they see the little place called home.
Endanger but that humble street whereon his children run,
You make a soldier of the man who never bore a gun.
What is it through the battle smoke the valiant soldier sees?

The little garden far away, the budding apple trees,
The little patch of ground back there, the children at their play,
Perhaps a tiny mound behind the simple church of gray.
The golden thread of courage isn't linked to castle dome
But to the spot, where'er it be — the humblest spot called home.
And now the lilacs bud again and all is lovely there
And homesick soldiers far away know spring is in the air;
The tulips come to bloom again, the grass once more is green,
And every man can see the spot where all his joys have been.

He sees his children smile at him, he hears the bugle call,
And only death can stop him now -- he's fighting for them all.

The following sonnet was written by then tenth-grade homeschool student "A.M." The photo of soldiers in the United States Army was taken in Afghanistan in 2005. These four soldiers are home now!

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A Soldier’s Farewell

Belovéd, do not weep for me today,
Nor sigh on the morrow when I depart.
For though I am from thine eyes far away,
My thoughts dwell on thee as the battles start.
Death’s cold embrace might appear a relief
From this hellish battlefield’s roiling sand,
Yet then I dream my death writ on a leaf
And with renewed spirit protect my land.
I shirk not my duty to my country
And will strive to bring liberty to all;
When peace and hope shine through the night ‘round me,
Homeward shall my steps delightedly fall.
For one’s heartstrings in his own country lie
And calls him with more force than battle’s cry.
--Contributed by A.M.

More poetry, some old and some new, for this solemn day

On this Veterans Day 2009, remember to thank a veteran for his service to our nation.

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posted by Always On Watch @ 11/11/2009 07:41:00 AM