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a tribute

May 27, 2007

Here’s to those who paid the price
And stood atop the wall,
Who didn’t call it sacrifice,
But duty to a call.

Beyond our power to add, detract,
Or honor with parade,
Or praise with words all copper-plaqued,
In public squares displayed,

They held the line, they took the brunt
Directed at our flank.
From general to lowly grunt
Now “hero” is their rank.

For some – unknown – the laurel wreaths
Must rest on unnamed graves.
For others still, their God bequeaths
No slabs or architraves.

For other heroes, living hearts
Still speak aloud their name.
Their daughters, sons, and better-parts –
To memories lay claim.

Some met the foe with angry eye;
Some trembled at the fray;
Some grieved for wife and family;
Some paused to kneel and pray.

Yet, as their hour approached its mark
And minutes became rare,
All gazed into the dreaded dark,
And stood – where we weren’t – there.

We praise with words their bravery,
Their steadfast soldiers’ hands,
That shielded us from slavery
And wrack from foreign lands.

Now pause awhile, and think on them.
Let recollection stir
To memory, through this artless hymn,
Of those and who they were.

— Posted by DBroome on the New York Times

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