From The Stars and Stripes, a Memorial Day poem* inspired by Siegfried Sassoon’s “Together.”
Friday, May 30, 1919
“I shall forget him in the morning light;
And while we gallop on he will not speak;
But at the stable door he’ll say good-night.”—Siegfried Sassoon, Counter-attack: And Other Poems
It isn’t quite the same as it used to be; the dark stallions, the pale faces, the black pomp of despair of civilian days. There’s a new feeling toward death, a better understanding. It is not longer strange and mysterious; it has moved among us; it has struck suddenly, mercifully, often.
We left him perhaps without a handshake when he piled into a camion and rolled away, or when we crawled out of the fox-hole he was just gone; or maybe we didn’t hear about it at all until long afterward because, Armywise, he had been transferred and we hadn’t.
And while we didn’t think about it then—things were happening mercifully fast and furious and we couldn’t think at all—now we have assembled our thoughts and decided what we were really fighting for, and so it all seems a part of the plan, loss as well as victory, death as sure as discharge.
So he will be with us, not in the busy rush of the life we’ll take up again, but quietly at the day’s end—living and real; for his going from us was unmarred by the harsh convention of civilian death, and quite cheerily, across the golden shadows, we’ll answer his good-night.
—The Stars and Stripes, Friday, May 30, 1919
*Author unknown—unless you have some info on this.
Image: The Colors, from Memorial Day Peace Day Circular (Illinois. Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction), Department of Public Instruction, 1920
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