Saturday, May 27, 2017

A Time to Remember

 My soldier friends have spent the week leading up to Memorial Day reminding folks this is NOT the time to thank them for their service but to remember those who have sacrificed.  Seeing this photo brought some memories rushing back...that of 12 year old me watching the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, seeing row upon row of graves at Arlington National Cemetery and being overwhelmed by it all.  I've shared this before, and I'm no poet, but the original challenge was to share an emotional experience in as few words as possible.  The number of words isn't important...the men and women who've served are. 


Five little girls.

Black and white.

Traveled in a van

With the undertaker’s wife.

Destination: Washington, DC.

Twelve years old.

Won a trip for helping folks.

Winning in the '70s…not a well known concept.

Especially at the end

Of the Vietnam War.

Arrived in the nation’s capital giggling.

Their accommodations:

A convent of nuns.

Quiet an experience

For 4 Baptists and a Latter Day Saint.

Their prize was a tour.

Their job to write it up.

Report back to the Principal

For a missed day of school.

The prize wasn’t what they expected.

Journeyed for fun.

Learned awkward lessons

Courtesy of Arlington Cemetery,

The Unknown Soldier and

the work of Lee Harvey Oswald.

Arlington Cemetery.

Eerily quiet.  Creepily Correct.

A mathematician’s symmetrical dream.

Precise angles wherever you looked.

Death done to perfection.

The Unknown Soldier.

Guarded by military precision.

Stony faces mirrored in a marble block.

How many guards pretended

To watch over a fallen buddy?

Four giggling girls

Raced for the van.

One stood with a lump in her throat

That felt as eternal

As the flame at her feet.

Quietly a soldier approached.

Silently laid a hand on the little girl’s shoulder

And stood reverently with her for one brief moment.

Funny…his touch

Reached all the way to my heart.