ABOUT THE PHOTO: A lone bugler blows taps at the close of the April 30, 1945 Memorial Day service at the American Military Cemetery, Margraten, The Netherlands, where lie thousands of American heroes of World War II. Photo courtesy U.S. National Archives, Record Group 111, Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer, 111-SC-207902.


                



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CARENTAN O CARENTAN
by Louis Simpson, 1944

Trees in the old days used to stand
And shape a shady lane
Where lovers wandered hand in hand
Who came from Carentan.

This was the shining green canal
Where we came two by two
Walking at combat-interval.
Such trees we never knew.

The day was early June, the ground
Was soft and bright with dew.
Far away the guns did sound,
But here the sky was blue.

The sky was blue, but there a smoke
Hung still above the sea
Where the ships together spoke
To towns we could not see.

Could you have seen us through a glass
You would have said a walk
Of farmers out to turn the grass,
Each with his own hay-fork.

The watchers in their leopard suits
Waited till it was time,
And aimed between the belt and boot
And let the barrel climb.

I must lie down at once, there is
A hammer at my knee.
And call it death or cowardice,
Don't count again on me.

Everything's all right, Mother,
Everyone gets the same
At one time or another.
It's all in the game.

I never strolled, nor ever shall,
Down such a leafy lane.
I never drank in a canal,
Nor ever shall again.

There is a whistling in the leaves
And it is not the wind,
The twigs are falling from the knives
That cut men to the ground.

Tell me, Master-Sergeant,
The way to turn and shoot.
But the Sergeant's silent
That taught me how to do it.

O Captain, show us quickly
Our place upon the map.
But the Captain's sickly
And taking a long nap.

Lieutenant, what's my duty,
My place in the platoon?
He too's a sleeping beauty,
Charmed by that strange tune.

Carentan O Carentan
Before we met with you
We never yet had lost a man
Or known what death could do.








ORCHARDS OF STONE
by W. E. Black, Jr., 1995

Orchards of stone
In fields of green grass,
Granite and marble
Marking the past
In unending rows,
In silent formation.

When I first visited there,
My father told me
That he had come to see friends,
Which puzzled me,
As he walked down silent rows,
Stopping, talking to pieces of stone.

He is long gone
But his friends are still there.
Mine have been added
To this orchard of stone.
Now I visit my friends there,
Hidden by grass
And marked by white stone.

Few of us now walk
In the orchard of stone.
Most walk the paths
To the few tourist spots
Surrounded with stones.
They don't seem to care,
They don't want to know
The people that live
In this orchard of stone.

The sections keep filling ...
More soldiers' last home ...
More wars and conflicts ...
More "military actions" ...
More "peace keeping" roles ...
That burn round the globe,
Keep fresh stones growing
In this orchard of stone.

Some stones are old
From wars long time past.
Few walk there with memories
While these stones still last.
And of my friends,
Each year fewer care
About the lives that they lived
Before coming there.

My son has no friends
And no memories
Of young and old men
In times of great pain
Who live here now.
Will he and his sons
Ever walk these rows
To visit with friends
That their sons won't know?









A SOLDIER REMEMBERS
by Ronald Tee

A soldier remembers
that "Something."

It's funny, how one can lie,
and remember things of days gone by.

And in perhaps one short minute,
recapture a past year and all that's in it.

It's funny, how a quiet room gives chance to ponder,
leading our thoughts, or even a funny phrase
will recall something that happened in bygone days.

Everyone stores up things that have passed,
some are forgotten, others will always last.

But a soldier who has gone to war,
has in life's memory book, something more.

"Something" that can only be,
in memories of men, like you and me.

"Something" that is born midst shot and shell,
develops and grows in times of bloody hell.

This "comradeship" as it is known by us,
of which we never make much fuss,

this "Something" which in our minds was set
in lands where many are lying yet.

And so I remember from the start,
the lads I knew, now far apart

my soldiering is finished, I leave it all behind,
but that "Something" comes with me in my mind.