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Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day Compilation

I started putting some poems appropriate for Memorial Day on facebook, but then I figured it would be better to just put them all on here and link it to facebook.  So, here goes....

Prayer of a Soldier in France

Alfred Joyce Kilmer (1918)

My shoulders ache beneath my pack

(Lie easier, Cross, upon His back).
I march with feet that burn and smart
(Tread, Holy Feet, upon my heart).

Men shout at me who may not speak

(They scourged Thy back and smote Thy cheek).

I may not lift a hand to clear
My eyes of salty drops that sear.

(Then shall my fickle soul forget
Thy Agony of Bloody Sweat?)

My rifle hand is stiff and numb
(From Thy pierced palm red rivers come).

Lord, Thou didst suffer more for me
Than all the hosts of land and sea.

So let me render back again
This millionth of Thy gift. Amen.

Then there is this one: 

In Flanders Field

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.

LTC John McCrae
Canadian Physician and Officer during World War I.

I know of many veterans who died; however, most of them did not die in combat.  Two stick out in my memory, though.  One was a Nurse Anesthetist who had some sort of malignant cancer which killed him within six months of the diagnosis.  I recall seeing him at a Christmas Concert with Michael Martin Murphy, and he was dead by May of the following year shortly before I separated from the Air Force.  I can't hear a song by Michael Martin Murphy without thinking and praying for the repose of the soul of LTC Tom Vezie, USAF NC.

The other deceased veteran was a pediatrician who was on temporary assignment in Korea when he was stabbed to death while walking through an outdoor market.  He left a wife and several young children behind.  I can't recall his name.  I never met him, but his death reminded me that our lives are truly not our own.  This is especially true for the soldiers, sailors, and airmen of this great nation.

And then there is this last poem, allegedly written on a grave marker for a Marine killed on Guadalcanal in World War II:

Eternal rest grant unto them , Oh Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon them.
May their souls, and all the souls of the Faithful Departed, rest in peace.

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Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation

Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation
Now restored with the help of some cement!

Prayer to Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation

Mary my mother, take my hand today, and all days.
Lead me away from all occasions of sin.
Guide me in fulfilling your last words in the Gospel,
"Do whatever He tells you."

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