Memorial Day Poems
War Affects Us All
Let the old men who send the young men to war stop and think long, and work harder for Peace, before affecting generations yet to come. Poems written about the reality of war from family, children, citizens, soldiers and medical personnel.
Work for Peace
These are a selection from many wonderful poems written with heavy hearts and great sincerity about the reality of how war affects us all. The old men who send young men to war rarely stop long enough - or at all - to consider their haste to anger and action affects the entire nation for generations to come.
The following are not glory poems but rather the perspectives of those involved in war be they one soldier, a POW, a mother, a daughter, a citizen who knew none of them but felt a duty to pray for them constantly, knowing the personal cost war would bring to all. They span several wars from the Civil War to WWII, the Korean War and today's Iraq and Afghanistan War.
These poems came from the comprehensive Memorial Day site where there is much more than poems to view. Please take a look today as you remember those who came before us.
How a soldier views his mother's courage:
No One Prouder
By Roger J. Robicheau - US Military Veteran (Four Years)
There is no one prouder than a fine military mother
Her support is of the strongest caliber to be found
She knows what she has to do and lovingly does it
Great faith is something she so abundantly shows
The motivation of these sincere women is heartwarming
The way they give to their own and others is an inspiration
Their sincere effort to be helpful is foremost in their thought
And how wondeful they perform when united in purpose
They are such tremendous supporters of all our military troops
Ask one hundred members of our Armed Forces about this
You'll see how many place a loving mother right up at the top
Don't bother asking this veteran, my words spell it out for me
May God bestow many blessings on these very special women
I'm in awe of their strength, determination, and courage
Behold the powerful fortitude they so steadfastly show
Do strive to keep them in your daily prayers and thoughts
Korean War POW
How a daughter views war:
A Daughters Tribute to her Korean War POW Dad
By Mary Castaldi
My father, 1st Lt. Bert W. Justus, was from Calif. 15ART BN(105MM) 2 INF DIV. He had served in World War 11 and was army reserve, called back to service in Nov. 50 and left for Korea Dec. 1950. He was captured on or about Feb. 12, 1951.
In July 1951 we received a letter from my dad dated 2-12-51 saying he was a prisoner of the Red Chinese Army. My mother kept a scrapbook of letters, newspaper articles mentioning his name and correspondence from the Army.
While attending a family update in San Diego.... I was given paperwork with contradicting hearsay statements regarding his death. These statements led the Army to believe my father died by May 31, 1951.
In loving memory of 1st Lt. Bert W. Justus, Jr.
from his daughter, Mary
World War II called out to him
And that was all it took
But he was there when I was born
I saw my baby book.
When I was six he left again
He looked into my eyes
"I'll be back with hula skirts"
And then he said good-bye.
His uniform was crisp and green
He held me in his arms
I knew he wasn't coming back
No Dad, no skirts, no charms.
And though I was a little girl
I cried upon his shoulder
I knew deep down this was goodbye
He wasn't getting older.
I felt so old, so wise that day
I still can feel the shame.
The family gathered round and played
I thought they were insane.
Twas Christmas day and he was gone
Korea was the name
Two months later MIA
No words can share the pain.
Fifty years have come and gone
Since we received the letter
He never came back home to us
It never does get better.
I need to tell the story
Because old men forget.
It's not just soldiers that we lose
their families are bereft
They hold a family update
To pacify our hurt
And then they send more babies
Out to die on foreign dirt.
It's not that I'm a pacifist
I'm not against all war
But I'm for talk and talk and talk
And then you talk some more.
The wars may be inevitable
And we will be prepared
But war should be the last resort
So little girls are spared.
America’s Civil War ended in 1865, for those from other countries not familiar with American history, The Blue refers to the Union soldiers and The Gray refers to the Confederate soldiers (trying to separate from the Union of America).
The Blue and The Gray
"O mother! What do they mean by blue?
And what do they mean by gray?"
I heard from the lips of a little child
As she bounded in from her play.
The mother’s eyes were filled with tears;
She turned to her darling fair
And smoothed away from the sunny brow
The treasure of golden hair.
"Why, mother’s eyes are blue, my sweet,
And grandpa’s hair is gray,
And the love we bear our darling child
Grows stronger every day."
"For what do they mean?" maintained the child,
"For I saw two cripples to-day,
And one of them said he had ‘fought for the blue,’
The other had ‘fought for the gray.’
"The one of the blue had lost a leg,
And the other had but one arm,
And both seemed worn and weary and sad,
Yet their greeting was kind and warm,
They told of the battles in days gone by
Till it made my blood run chill,
The leg was lost in the Wilderness fight
And the arm on Malvern Hill.
"They sat on the stone by the farmyard gate
And talked for an hour or more,
Till their eyes grew bright and their hearts seemed warm
With fighting their battles o’er;
And parted at last with a friendly grasp,
In a kindly, brotherly way,
Each asking God to speed the time
Uniting the blue and the gray."
Then the mother thought of other days,
Two stalwart boys from her riven;
How they’d knelt at her side, and, lisping, prayed:
"Our Father, who art in heaven;"
How one wore the gray and the other the blue,
How they passed away from sight
And had gone to the land where gray and blue
Merge in tints of celestial light.
And she answered her darling with golden hair,
While her heart was sorely wrung
With thoughts awakened in that sad hour
By her innocent, prattling tongue;
"The blue and the gray are the colors of God;
They are seen in the sky at even,
And many a noble, gallant soul
Has found them passports to heaven."
World War II
This WWII poem is quite spectacular considering the circumstances under which it was written - by a POW during capture.
"Written in a Japanese POW camp in Mongolia at great peril to his life by a Bataan Death March survivor.
By Author Unknown
Obtained from and Thanks to:
D.M. Barger [ex-FTG-1[SS]] who obtained it in turn from
CMSC Brown, USAF Ret. - The youngest survivor of the Bataan Death March."
A soldier is a nobody, we hear lots of people say.
He is the outcast of the world and always in the way.
We admit there are bad ones from the Army to the Marines,
but the majority you will find, the most worthy ever seen.
Most people condemn the soldier when he stops to take a drink or two,
but does a soldier condemn you, when you stop to take a few.
Now don't scorn the soldier but clasp him by the hand,
for the uniform he wears means protection to our land.
The government picks its soldier from the million far and wide,
so please place him as your equal good buddies side by side.
When a soldier goes to battle you cheer him on the way,
you say he is a hero when in the ground he lay.
But the hardest battle of the soldier is in the time of peace,
when all mock and scorn him and treat him like a beast.
With these few lines we close sir, we hope we don't offend
but when you meet a soldier just treat him like a friend.
Iraq and Afghanistan War
For Our Troops
By © 2007 Brooke O'Neill Emery
MEMORIAL DAY, 2007
FOR OUR TROOPS (both past and present, but particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan at present)
Though I don't know your name
And I have never seen your face
I shed tears for you.
Though my memories don't contain a time
We shared together
I miss you.
Though we are not related
You are in my thoughts.
When I'm eating, or taking a shower, or doing housework,
I think of you, knowing how much you wish you could be at home,
Your stomach full, doing mundane chores such as cleaning your house,
Clean from a fresh shower.
Though you are at terrible risk, and perhaps may not survive,
You are NEVER ALONE, and will always be alive
If only in our spirits, hopes and memories, our dreams for your future.
There are MILLIONS of people praying for you tonight
And throughout the day.
Praying for your safely and return as a whole person
In mind, body and spirit.
We are crying because we know. We know you are scared, and lonely.
And that you'd give anything to see your family, to hug you mother, father.
Your child, sister, brother, aunt, uncle.
To be showered with love and comfort,
Instead of sand and shrapnel.
We long for you too, with an ache so desperate as to make us insane.
To touch your face, see your smile; share your laughter and your tears.
We love you so much soldiers, you cannot know. You cannot fathom the swelling of pride in our chest as we think of you.
Of your courage and your sacrifice, the hope that you can come home soon.
And those that have returned, we have not forgotten you; you are in our prayers,
That you may recover from your experience and be healed.
No matter what anyone says, not matter the reason you are there,
You are a UNITED STATES SOLDIER, and you make us PROUD!!
Every day for that beautiful flag, for our great fortune to be Americans.
There are no politics, no scandals, no mistakes, NOTHING, which can diminish the sentiment we have for you.
And even as democracy permits free speech, as it should, which some may use to make judgments or cast aspersions,
Remember always, we know you'd rather be on the couch debating it with us than spending your days trying just to stay alive.
Let no "freedom of speech' EVER make you doubt the American people's faith in and love for you.
We are PROUD!
I've never met you, but I want you to know that I love you.
I'm praying for you.
I honor you.
I'm waiting for your return.
On this Memorial Day, 2007, and every day,
Please know that you are being though of.
WE MISS YOU.
GOD BLESS YOU and keep you until the day we can celebrate face to face.
Medical Personnel in War
This is yet another perspective from the medical personnel who see the worst of war in all its carnage, often unsung heroes as well. Through the efforts of these folks is the only reason many of us ever saw our loved ones come home.
I Am A Navy Corpsman
By © 2003 by Mark A. Wright, HMC(SS) USN (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I am a navy corpsman. I possess the stamina and enthusiasm of youth and the wisdom and experience of an old man.
I am 3 parts doctor, 1 part nurse, 2 parts marine, 1 part yeoman and 3 parts mom, yet I am 100% sailor.
I am unemployable to the civilian world in my given profession yet have been the very life line for countless marines, soldiers and sailors since 1778.
I have carried marines from the battlefield ... and have been carried reverently myself by marines who mourned my passing like that of a brother or sister.
I am young. I am old. brave, scared and scarred. my title has changed over the years: loblolly boy, surgeons stewart, pharmacist mate, hospital corpsman, IDC, yet with all the changes I am still simply know as "doc".
I have celebrated peace; yet felt the sting of war on the seas, in jungles, in foreign cities, in Washington D.C. and on beaches of every shade of sand... white, tan, coral and black.
I have raised hell on liberty; hope in the midst of battle .... and Old Glory on Iwo Jima.
I have removed appendices on submarines and limbs in the midst of battle and many other procedures far above and beyond what I am expected to do by the normal practice of medicine because it had to be done in order to save the life of a marine or sailor in battle or under the ice, far from a doctors care.
I have ignored my own wounds to the point of death in order to stay at my station treating the wounded of my nations navy, marine corp, army and air force.
I have the highest number of medal of honors of any corp in the Navy .....most of them presented to my wife, child or mother because I was already in heaven at the time.
I am proud to know in my heart that every marine who has ever fought and every sailor who has gone to sea on ships owe their very lives to those they simply, yet respectfully know as "Doc."
Work for Peace
Work hard for Peace. Work harder for Peace. Work more for Peace than you ever thought you had in you. And when the struggle for Peace fails because people are quick to anger and harm, be glad we have warriors who possess the courage to protect us.
What can you do to work for Peace today so that others will never know such sorrow? Today: Remember those who have fallen so that we may rise - and thrive. In their place, live your life with courage.
Contribute to your society, nation and the world so that one day wars will cease. Work toward your vision - no matter how many generations it takes. Your descendants will thank you!
Social Issues Poet: The Social Poets blog.
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Warrior Peace Sign Hand Photo by Jayel Aheram @ flickr
Flag at Arlington Cemetery Photo by BL 1961 @ flickr
Soldiers and Woman at Grave Photo by Getty Images @ daylife.com
Iwo Jima Raising of the Flag Sculpture Photo in Washington, D.C. by dbking @ flickr
American Flag with Peace Symbol Photo by BL 1961 @ flickr