My favorite patriotic poem. I memorized it as a child. Written by Billy Rose, who also wrote "Me and My Shadow" He was a staff clerk in WWI.
The Unknown Soldier
There's a graveyard near the White House
Where the Unknown Soldier lies,
And the flowers there are sprinkled
With the 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
Now 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.
My husband was 18 when he joined the Army in May 1976. His mother came to see him graduate from basic training, a miserable hot summer in South Carolina that year. He came home, safe, from his service. He was not maimed or mangled. He was not in a body bag. Many have not been so fortunate.
These have been trying days in our nation, days of protest in the streets and turmoil in families. We, as a nation, can protest and engage in public discourse of discontent because of tens of thousands of men and women who have served, and are still serving under the flag of the US - in war and peace, plenty and want. Our first line of defense for an ideal and dream we call the United States of America.
For this I am thankful, today and always.