Top 5 Memorable Memorial Day Poems – #1

Each marker in section 60 of Arlington Nationa...

Today is Memorial Day and I dedicate the day to the memory of all those who gave their lives so that we could live ours. Thank you and may you RIP.

I’ve been sharing my Top 5 Memorial Day poems leading up to this day . Here’s a look back at the Top 4:

  • #5 – ‘Memorial Day’ by C. W. Johnson
  • #4 – ‘When I’m Gone’ by Mrs. Lyman Hancock
  • #3 – ‘TAPS’ by Major General Daniel Butterfield
  • #2 – ‘Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep’ by Mary Frye

And here is my #1 Memorial Day poem – ‘Freedom Is Not Free’ by Kelly Strong:

Freedom Is Not Free

I watched the flag pass by one day.
It fluttered in the breeze.
A young Marine saluted it,
and then he stood at ease.
I looked at him in uniform
So young, so tall, so proud,
He’d stand out in any crowd.
I thought how many men like him
Had fallen through the years.
How many died on foreign soil?
How many mothers’ tears?
How many pilots’ planes shot down?
How many died at sea?
How many foxholes were soldiers’ graves?
No, freedom isn’t free.
I heard the sound of TAPS one night,
When everything was still
I listened to the bugler play
And felt a sudden chill.
I wondered just how many times
That TAPS had meant “Amen,”
When a flag had draped a coffin
Of a brother or a friend.
I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands
With interrupted lives.
I thought about a graveyard
At the bottom of the sea
Of unmarked graves in Arlington.
No, freedom isn’t free.
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Top 5 Memorable Memorial Day Poems – #2

Memorial Day Commemoration 2008

Memorial Day is a day of remembrance. It’s important to take a few moments of the day to be still, remember and give thanks to those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Leading up to Memorial Day this Monday, I’m sharing my Top 5 Memorable Memorial Day poems. Here is Number 2 by Mary Frye:

Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep 

Do not stand at my grave and weep,

I am not there, I do not sleep.

I am in a thousand winds that blow;

I am the softly falling snow.

 

I am the gentle showers of rain;

I am the fields of ripening grain.

I am in the morning hush;

I am in the graceful rush.

 

Of beautiful birds in circling flight,

I am the starshine of the night.

I am in the flowers that bloom,

I am in a quiet room.

 

I am the birds that sing,

I am in each lovely thing.

Do not stand at my grave and cry,

I am not there. I do not die.

Top 5 Memorable Memorial Day Poems – #3

A bugler plays "Taps" during the fun...

Don’t you just love countdowns? Well, when it’s a countdown to something good of course…

I’m counting down to Memorial Day by sharing my Top 5 memorable poems. Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for all those who made the ultimate sacrifice. If you can, stop by the cemetery this Monday and lay a bouquet of flowers on a grave, any grave. You’ll be glad you did.

Here is poem #3 by Major General Daniel Butterfield:

TAPS

Day is done…
Gone the sun
From the lake…
From the hills…
From the sky.
All is well…
Safely rest
God is nigh.
Fading light….
Dims the sight
And a star….
Gems the sky….
Gleaming bright
From afar….
Drawing nigh
Falls the night.

Top 5 Memorable Memorial Day Poems – #4

Memorial Day Commemoration 2008

How do you plan to spend your Memorial Day? Are you going to visit loved ones in the cemetery? I hope to see you there.

For Memorial Day, I’m sharing my Top Five Memorable MemoriaDay Poems.  #5 was ‘Memorial Day’ by C. W. Johnson and here is #4 by Mrs. Lyman Hancock:

When I’m Gone

When I come to the end of my journey
And I travel my last weary mile,
Just forget if you can, that I ever frowned
And remember only the smile.
Forget unkind words I have spoken;
Remember some good I have done.
Forget that I ever had heartache
And remember I’ve had loads of fun.
Forget that I’ve stumbled and blundered
And sometimes fell by the way.
Remember I have fought some hard battles
And won, ere the close of the day.
Then forget to grieve for my going,
I would not have you sad for a day,
But in summer just gather some flowers
And remember the place where I lay,
And come in the shade of evening
When the sun paints the sky in the west
Stand for a few moments beside me
And remember only my best.

Top 5 Memorable Memorial Day Poems – #5

English: Picture of graves decorated with flag...

Memorial Day will be celebrated this Monday (May 28, 2012). It’s a busy time for me and I plan to post pictures of the cemeteries I visit, so be sure to revisit the blog next week. For now, I’d like to share some memorable Memorial Day poems. The first is by C. W. Johnson:

Memorial Day

We walked among the crosses
Where our fallen soldiers lay.
And listened to the bugle
As TAPS began to play.
The Chaplin led a prayer
We stood with heads bowed low.
And I thought of fallen comrades
I had known so long ago.
They came from every city
Across this fertile land.
That we might live in freedom.
They lie here ‘neath the sand.
I felt a little guilty
My sacrifice was small.
I only lost a little time
But these men lost their all.
Now the services are over
For this Memorial Day.
To the names upon these crosses
I just want to say,
Thanks for what you’ve given
No one could ask for more.
May you rest with God in heaven
From now through evermore.

House For Sale (cemetery included).

The Johnson family cemetery is on the grounds ...

So you’re in the market for a house and you find the perfect place. But there’s a catch – there’s an abandoned cemetery in the back yard! Would you still buy? This couple did:

STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) — When the real estate agent showed Dick and Sandy Birdsell the little blue house on Cedar Circle, she shrugged off their questions about the headstone on an adjacent lot steps from the driveway.

The Birdsells let the issue go. So they bought the house and in time started clearing the quarter acre, where the headstone serves as a buffer between their home and the street.

“It wasn’t until I started cleaning it up that I realized it was a piece of history,” Dick Birdsell said.

When the Birdsells bought the home to relax in their retirement 16 years ago, they became caretakers of a historic cemetery where members of two of Stamford’s founding families were laid to rest as far back as the 1700s.

“When we got here this piece of land was a dump,” Birdsell said. “All the people on the street, the contractors who were building here, any time they wanted to get rid of anything they tossed it in here.”

It took a long time for Birdsell, 77, to remove piles of brush and leaves, and then scraps of metal and wood. But it was worth the effort. Beneath the junk he discovered gravestone after gravestone. Most featured the names Lockwood and Scofield, while others were etched with names such as Knapp, Buxton and Finch.

Through the Stamford Historical Society the Birdsells found that in the 1930s, the Works Progress Administration had indexed the stones in the city’s more than 40 old cemeteries. They compiled a list of 35 people in “Lockwood Cemetery (hash)5,” which is how they labeled the Birdsell’s.

Though the Birdsells have not found all 35, they have devised a trick for reading the stones. Sweeping dirt over the inscriptions and then dusting off the excess, they are able to bring the text to life without damaging the fragile stones. This allows them to speculate about the various figures resting in front of their home. Maybe the smaller stones indicate infants, or perhaps they are foot stones marking the length of the graves.

The big mystery is Phebe Pender .

According to the WPA, she was born in 1820 and died in 1883. Most of the families in the cemetery are represented by multiple members, but Phebe is the only Pender.

“Nobody seems to know why Phebe ended up with all the Scofields and the Lockwoods,” Sandy Birdsell said with a raised eyebrow.

“Somebody must have had a girlfriend,” Dick Birdsell added wryly. “We got the best neighbors in the world here. I invite them for coffee and bacon and eggs all the time and they never show up.”

Though they did not know what they were getting when they bought their house, the Birdsells are happy with their slice of Stamford history.

“I don’t have a problem with it being here,” Sandy said. “I know some people are hesitant about buying property next to a cemetery but that didn’t bother us when we discovered it. But I could not understand how it was let go, how could people let it get like that?”

The Birdsells are committed to caring for the lot. “It is a family cemetery and we want to treat it with respect,” Sandy said. “I don’t care how old the cemetery is, it is sacred.”

I think it’s great they discovered this piece of history and that they are respectful of it. Someone else could have bought the property and just as easily razed it. It’s so important to take care of old graveyards. I wish more people would do the same.

Mother. RIP.

Mother's Day card

Mother’s Day is tomorrow (May 13) so to all the mothers I know (and those I don’t know) – enjoy your day!

And for those of us who have lost our mothers, the day can be bittersweet. I always think of my Mummy on this day. I think of how much she gave me and of how much she gave up for me. I really didn’t understand her sacrifices until I had my son…that’s when I truly understood what it means to be a mother. So tomorrow will be a happy, yet poignant day for me.

There’s a poem by Rumi that gave me comfort when my mother passed. I’ll share it with you and maybe you can share it with your mother tomorrow.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
Who violently sweep your house
Empty of its furniture,
Still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
For some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing
And invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
Because each has been sent
As a guide from beyond.