My thanks to Stephanie Lane who posted one of the clearest messages on what it means for others to suffer in our name. Thank you, once again, Stephanie for the inspiration to add some of my own feeling. Please visit Stephanie’s post linked below. The following photo is from her post.
It was two full days before Memorial Day,
“Decoration Day” as we children would say,
It was necessary that I check my old folk’s grave,
Clean up the stone, trim grass and stay brave.
And when I was through I looked far around,
There were many stories that lay in the ground,
I can’t tell you, personally, that I knew them true,
But I have some time to tell you about a few.
There is Richard, “Died in nineteen-forty three,”
The memorial words say he had been “Lost at Sea,”
And there is Jason, “Jay Bedford laid here to rest,”
Also written “He fell in the French Argonne Forest.”
York, Holderman – – – they and Whittlesey too,
Also fell there, other heroes, not simply just a few.
“Medal Of Honor” deep chiseled on each stone,
All men of valor, everyone made of flesh and bone.
There are Prisoners Of War many never returned,
Bones in an ash pit, remains twisted and burned,
Others came back, with many experiences unspoken,
Memories horrible, personalities temporarily broken.
The Andersonville horror spoken of so eloquently,
By “David Kennedy, Ohio Calvary”, firm yet gently,
“It takes seven men to make a shadow – Dear Statesman,”
Starving prisoners you never see, do you really hate men?”
Dysentery, water rare, leaves skin and bone,
Twelve thousand died only 460 “unknown,”
Providence Spring broke the “Dead Line Gate,”
Clearly marked now, but then; too little, too late.”
Charlottesville, Albemarle, and Winchester too,
In the Revolution were three, to name only a few,
Union’s Camps; Douglas, Chase, Fort Delaware,
Elmira Prison, a disaster, no one seemed to care.
Hell-hole, Andersonville, with daily burning sky,
Outdone by Blackshear, Danville, and Fort Pulaski,
Camps Pinckney, Ford, and the Florence Stockade,
Through human waste and bodies, one had to wade.
Allied camps, Axis Camps and UN Prisons,
Strange sounding names, unforgettable visions,
Korean camps named “Changsong on the Yalu,”
P’yong-yang, Kangdong, Pukchin to name a few.
Continue; Bagram, Camp Bucca, and I am afraid,
Camp Delta, internment, shame at Abu Ghraib,
As I continue my walk through the cemetery so green,
There are many more reminders everywhere to be seen.
There is “Bill” with a flag, “Joseph” remembered by DAR,
And a memorial for Jaime Green with a six pointed star,
A crucifix on the majority but everyone donated in equal,
Our heros, our POWs, and our MIA’s were all people.
There are two sides to every war and story,
They seem to start with power, “For Glory,”
But people who died, or suffered, in prison camp,
Remind us a State’s ego we never rubber stamp.
© Copyright – Waldo Tomosky