THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER
There’s a graveyard near the White House
Where the Unknown Soldier lies.
And the flowers there are sprinkled
With tears from mother’s eyes.
I stood there not so long ago
With roses for the brave,
And suddenly I heard a voice
Speak from out the grave.
“I am the Unknown Soldier,”
The spirit voice began,
And I think I have the right
To ask some questions man to man.
“Are my buddies taken care of?
Was their victory so sweet?
Is that big reward you offered
Selling pencils on the street?
“Did they really win the freedom
They battled to achieve?
Do you still respect that Croix de Guerre
Above that empty sleeve?
“Does a gold star in the window
Mean anything at all?
I wonder how my old girl feels
When she hears a bugle call.
“And that baby who sang
‘Hello, Central, give me no man’s land’—
Can they replace her daddy
With a military band?
“I wonder if the profiteers
Have satisfied their greed?
I wonder if a soldier’s mother
Ever is in need?
“I wonder if the kings, who planned it all
Are really satisfied?
They played their game of checkers
And eleven million died.
“I am the Unknown Soldier
And maybe I died in vain,
But if I were alive and my country called.
I’d do it all over again.”
By Billy Rose
All down through the ages, there have been wars. Men have always taken up arms and marched away to defend their lands, their countries, and protect their families. Although the weapons of war are not swords and spears now, but sophisticated armaments that boggle the mind, the end result is still the same.
Families at home weep and pray for their sons and daughters in combat, and weep even more when they receive word that their loved ones have died in battle. Grief is the same in any generation, in any language. Like mothers and wives everywhere, we have often wondered just what it is all about. Deep down, we know. It is about freedom and our way of life, and the sacrifices made to ensure this for us.
The ultimate sacrifice is the giving of their lives. We owe them a debt of gratitude that we can never repay. We owe our returning veterans, some maimed in body and some in mind, the same debt. We owe those who are still overseas our prevailing prayers and we owe our veterans the same. Old fashioned patriotism, as well as old fashioned prayer, is not a thing of the past. Our country was founded on faith in God, and it is through faith in God that we shall overcome.
When we were in grade school, many, many years ago, the love of our country and pride in our achievements were instilled in us. I am thankful that our grandchildren and great-grandchildren are still receiving the same teachings. A new elementary school was built at Big Otter, and the Veteran’s Day/Pearl Harbor Day programs goes on just like it did at Valley Fork Elementary. Each year the students present a program with the VFW as guests. They emphasize patriotism and appreciation to our veterans. Each year they sing, “This is My Country” with pride and enthusiasm.
We sang, “My Country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty . . .” We also sang, “America, America, God shed His grace on thee, and crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea.” God has shed His grace on America, and when we forget to be a thankful people, and turn away from Him, we are in trouble. Our only hope for our nation is to get down on our knees and repent, and turn back to God.
When we were children, “war” was an abstract word that we didn’t understand. It was only when some of our close family became involved that we began to understand its sorrow. Our cousin Leo enlisted at age 18 in WWII, called “The War” at that time. He earned an expert marksman pin (as so many of our mountaineer boys did) but it was soon replaced with a Purple Heart when he was wounded in Okinawa.
We worried, and prayed, and listened to the war news daily. I remember visiting Uncle Myles and Aunt Lucille when they lived on Kanawha Turnpike, and listening to song records. She would play
“Goodbye, My Love, Goodbye” and the lonesome wail of the freight train whistle tore my heart. They lived right beside the tracks, and those lonely memories are with me still.
My cousin Ellyn Dawn sent the lyrics to that song by Roy Acuff, which many of you may remember.
GOODBYE MY LOVE (I HEARD A SILVER TRUMPET)
Goodbye, my love, it’s time to go
I heard a silver trumpet blow
It’s calling me to fight the foe
And so, goodbye, my love.
The world is ours to wander free
‘Neath heaven up above
Goodbye, my love, it’s time to go . . .
Goodbye, my love.
Now don’t you cry
We’ll be together
By and by
We’ll keep Ol’ Glory waving high
And so, don’t cry, my love
No matter where on earth I’d go
It’s you I’m thinking of . . .
Goodbye, my love, it’s time to go . . .
PRAYER FOR THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
By George Washington
Almighty God, we make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy holy protection; that Thou wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government . . . And finally that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without a humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation. Grant our supplication, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
We can only echo “Amen” to this prayer.
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