Unknown, But Not Forgotten

3,553 Unknown Union Soldiers Lie Interred In
Arlington National Cemetery.

Much thanks to Oklahoma Sun for posting his unique collection of poetry, much of which is appropriate to the themes of this site.  You can see from OK Sun’s entry (below) the connection between our contemporary unknown dead service people and those of the Civil War.

Most of the area surrounding my home near Manassas was once a battleground.  We constantly walk on the graves of soldiers, as it is impossible to preserve every inch of a region.  We don’t know who many of these soldiers were, what they experienced or what happened to their families.  We don’t even know what side they fought on.

And just a short drive away, Arlington Cemetery has become home for thousands of other unknowns.

3,553 are Union soldiers.  Thousands of others are Confederates.  And then there are soldiers from all branches of the more modern military.  The rows and rows of white grave stones at Arlington are heart wrenching, staggering and frightening.

In a general way, I think, “How sad to have died and become unknown.”

But how much sadder to have died while fighting for someone else only to be rendered “unknown.”

Then I think, how about, “unknown but not forgotten”?
I wonder if that makes it any better–or if anything can.
___________________________________________________________

TheNation’s Dead

October 10, 2010

—E.C.P.

FOUR hundred thousand men,
The brave—the good—the true,
In tangled wood, in mountain glen,
On battle plain, in prison pen,
Lie dead for me and you!
Four hundred thousand of the brave
Have made our ransomed soil their grave,
For me and you!
Good friend, for me and you! 

 

In many a fevered swamp,
By many a black bayou,
In many a cold and frozen camp,
The weary sentinel ceased his tramp,
And died for me and you!
From Western plain to ocean tide
Are stretched the graves of those who died
For me and you!
Good friend, for me and you!

On many a bloody plain
Their ready swords they drew,
And poured their life-blood, like the rain,
A home—a heritage to gain,
To gain for me and you!
Our brothers mustered by our side
They marched, and fought, and bravely died,
For me and you!
Good friend, for me and you!

Up many a fortress wall
They charged—those boys in blue—
‘Mid surging smoke, and volleyed ball
The bravest were the first to fall!
To fall for me and you!
These noble men—the nation’s pride—
Four hundred thousand men have died
For me and you!
Good friend, for me and you!

In treason’s prison-hold
Their martyr spirits grew
To stature like the saints of old,
While amid agonies untold,
They starved for me and you!
The good, the patient, and the tried,
Four hundred thousand men have died,
For me and you!
Good friend, for me and you!

A debt we ne’er can pay
To them is justly due,
And to the nation’s latest day
Our children’s children still shall say,
“They died for me and you!”
Four hundred thousand of the brave
Made this, our ransomed soil, their grave,
For me and you!
Good friend, for me and you!The Round Table (1865)

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