Port Hudson, Vicksburg, New Orleans,
Antietam, Shiloh, Malvern Hill—

A hundred fields, a thousand scenes
The moistened lens of memory fill.

On fields with Grant, whose grave is white
With flowers from many a distant State,

Through many a long and weary night
You learned with him to toil and wait.

And there with Hancock, soldier true,
At Gettysburg you held the line;

No nobler heart beneath the blue,
For him the nation's flowers entwine.

Brave captains, noble comrades, rest!

No bugle-note or . war's alarms Disturb your sleep on Nature's breast—

That silent camp of grounded arms.

Your ranks are thinner, boys, to-day,

Than just one little year ago; On many a brow a touch of gray

Anticipates the winter's snow.

And fewer comrades, year by year,
Shall gather summer's kindly bloom,

And fewer brothers drop the tear
Upon the soldier's sacred tomb.

The twenty years have left their trace
Since you returned the homeward route;

Twice twenty more your ranks efface;
The boys will all be mustered out,

Who kept the faith and fought the fight;

The glory theirs, the duty ours;
They earned the crown, the hero's right,

The victor's wreath—a crown of flowers.

MEMORIAL DAY MESSAGES

Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations, that we have forgotten, as a people, the cost of a free and undivided Republic.

General John A. Logan.

We honor our heroic and patriotic dead by being true men, as true men by faithfully fighting the battles of our day as they fought the battles of their day.

David Gregg.

The supporters of religion gave their lives for a principle. These martyrs of patriotism gave their lives for an idea.

Schuyler Colfax.

As a basis for permanently satisfactory results of the war, we should recognize the claims of justice and equal rights to all classes and sections, a fair apportionment of public burdens and benefits, with special privileges and exemptions to none. Careful and practical teachings along this line will be a patriotic work.

Judge James W. Lapsley.

Memorial Day, in my opinion, is one of the most significant and beautiful occasions of the year. It shows the sentiment of the people toward those who gave their lives for a good cause, and it teaches a lesson in patriotism which is without a parallel. Memorial Day cannot be too tenderly revered by old and young, by those who participated in one of the Nation's great struggles, or by those who simply know of it as history. Our common country each year is paying a greater tribute of respect to the soldiers, living and dead, and it is my hope that this rule may be expanded still more in the years to come.

Anonymous.

ARE DEAD HEROES PRESENT?

ANONYMOUS

Why may not the men themselves, who died beneath their country's flag, be now among their homes to which their last living thoughts were turned, and here with us to-day? We do not know, but can we not in hope believe, with a solid, substantial, reasonable belief and hope, that our heroes now stand about us, unseen and unheard, as we join to do honor to their memories? The naked human eye is not made to disclose the presence of the myriad forms that exist about us, and the human ear is not attuned to note the solemn symphonies of the music of the spheres,

TRIBUTE TO THE UNKNOWN

BY SENIOR VICE-COMMANDER BURRAGE

We pay the tribute of respect and reverence to the gallant men who sacrificed their lives to the perpetuation of the Union, and who now lie in common graves marked "unknown." It was fitting at this season of vernal bloom, when nature is joyful with life, that our thoughts should turn to those who gave their lives, as dear to them as ours to us, and that their memory should be honored and reverenced.

ODE FOR MEMORIAL DAY l

BY PAUL LAURENCE DUNBAR

Done are the toils and the wearisome marches,

Done is the summons of bugle and drum.
Softly and sweetly the sky overarches,

Shelt'ring a land where Rebellion is dumb.
Dark were the days of the country's derangement,

Sad were the hours when the conflict was on,
But through the gloom of fraternal estrangement

God sent his light, and we welcome the dawn. O'er the expanse of our mighty dominions,

Sweeping away to the uttermost parts, Peace, the wide-flying, on untiring pinions,

Bringeth her message of joy to our hearts.

'From "Lyrics of Lowly Life," by P. L. Dunbar, Dodd, Mead & Co., 1898.

Ah, but this joy which our minds cannot measure

What did it cost for our fathers to gain!
Bought at the price of the heart's dearest treasure,

Born out of travail and sorrow and pain;
Born in the battle where fleet Death was flying,

Slaying with saber-stroke bloody and fell;
Born where the heroes and martyrs were dying,

Torn by the fury of bullet and shell. Ah, but the day is past: silent the rattle,

And the confusion that followed the fight. Peace to the heroes who died in the battle,

Martyrs to truth and the crowning of Right!

Out of the blood of a conflict fraternal,

Out of the dust and the dimness of death, Burst into blossoms of glory eternal

Flowers that sweeten the world with their breath. Flowers of charity, peace, and devotion

Bloom in the hearts that are empty of strife; Love that is boundless and broad as the ocean

Leaps into beauty and fullness of life. So, with the singing of paeans and chorals,

And with the flag flashing high in the sun, Place on the graves of our heroes the laurels

Which their unfaltering valor has won!

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »