General of the Armies, John J Pershing
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 the earth.
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That 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
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
He was getting old and his hair was falling fast,
And he sat around telling stories of the past.
Of a war that he had fought in and the deeds that he had done,
In his exploits with buddies; they were the heroes, every one.
And though sometimes to his neighbors, his tales became a joke,
All his buddies listened, for they knew whereof he spoke.
But we'll hear his tales no longer, for he has passed away,
And the world's a little poorer, for a soldier died today.
A. Lawrence Vaincourt
In the last two years, my family has buried three heroes from World War II, and we and this nation are poorer for the loss of those valiant men who when they were young all volunteered to fight and preserve freedom.
The first hero to die, was my father- in-law, a quiet gentle man who was a jeweler and who could repair almost any watch, a trade he learned in college, on his GI Bill. Poppa as the kids called him never spoke of his bravery or the wound that nearly killed him and earned him his purple heart at the Battle of the Bulge. His brother-in-law passed long before I met my husband who was in the Bataan Death March. I have been told he never mentioned is torment or trials much either.
My father, my first and forever hero, died a few months later. He was lucky, he was never wounded. In World War II he was in the 82nd Airborne, and he too, never discussed jumping out of gliders into the dark of night, or what he witnessed. My father retired from the United States Army Band, and when I was a teen frequently played Taps at Arlington Memorial Cemetery and I watched as he played Taps at the Tomb of the Unknowns on Memorial Day twice, and I was so proud.
My Uncle, died just this month, was on the USN Thornton at Pearl Harbor on the day of infamy, and he only mentioned it a few times. While looking for information about the USN Thornton, where his entire tour of duty was spent during the war, I was surprised to learn that the Thornton was also at the battle of Midway, and at Guadalcanal. He too retired from the United States Navy.
These men never were anything but proud of serving their country, and I am so grateful to have have them as part of my life, and I will treasure the legacy of Honor, Duty, Country, Family that all these wise kind and gentle men displayed throughout their lives.
Join me in a remembrance of those brave men, and those in your family, in my resolve that they had not died in vain.