Memorial Day: A Moment for Reflection

arlingtonnationalcemetery_with_flags

Arlington National Cemetary

This Memorial Day, I wanted to take a moment to think about those who have given their life for our country. Reflecting on this poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, which he wrote not long after the holiday was established in the mid-1800s, seemed an appropriate way to honor them. As decorating soldiers’ graves with flowers was part of the custom, the holiday was originally called Decoration Day.

Decoration Day

Sleep, comrades, sleep and rest
On this Field of the Grounded Arms,
Where foes no more molest,
Nor sentry’s shot alarms!

Ye have slept on the ground before,
And started to your feet
At the cannon’s sudden roar,
Or the drum’s redoubling beat.

But in this camp of Death
No sound your slumber breaks;
Here is no fevered breath,
No wound that bleeds and aches.

All is repose and peace,
Untrampled lies the sod;
The shouts of battle cease,
It is the Truce of God!

Rest, comrades, rest and sleep!
The thoughts of men shall be
As sentinels to keep
Your rest from danger free.

Your silent tents of green
We deck with fragrant flowers
Yours has the suffering been,
The memory shall be ours.

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