Here in this quiet stretch of hallowed ground,
the welcome sunrise warms me as I step
past granite markers, kneeling down around
the fresh-cut stone of one who’s newly slept.
The dates decree a promised life cut short;
a moment past, a casualty of war.
A valiant man who never again would court
his wife, or with his daughter go explore
the mountainside. He’d never teach his son
the joy of casting from a rocky shore;
nor would he watch him hit his first home run
or wrestle with him on the kitchen floor.
A distant bugler pays respect. Stand tall,
my boy, stand tall—you consecrated all!
© 2012 R. Mark Vincent
Image: U.S. Army, Public Domain
You’ve summed it up in those 16 lines. One needs to wonder how many brilliant minds were wasted in wars. Times haven’t changed – there’s still plenty wars to go to, but attitudes have shifted. Post-traumatic stress is now accepted as reality. Once it was simply shell-shocked.