Monday, May 31, 2021

The Crosses

The Crosses
William H. McRaven 

This poem is dedicated to all the men and women, regardless of faith, who made the ultimate sacrifice for this nation.

I have stood before the crosses
as we laid a soldier down.
They cast a simple shadow
upon the upturned ground.
The bugler sounds taps
as each cross its witness bears
to the journey of a soldier
released from earthly cares.

I have stood before the crosses
and prayed a lonely prayer,
in hopes of some redemption
as I struggled to compare
My life of long contentment
with the soldier’s hallowed call
to warrant with his dying breath
a better world for all.

I have stood before the upturned ground
and struggled to compare
my courage and my character
with the man or woman there.
Would I have died a valiant death
in a foreign land,
upon a distant battlefield,
to save my fellow man?

I have stood before the crosses
as the sun was going down,
watching as the shadows faded
upon the upturned ground.
I have looked upon the hillside of
the crosses, row on row,
upon the young and brave of heart
never to grow old.

I have knelt before the crosses
at night, before I sleep,
and made upon my bended knee
a covenant I keep:
To live a life of service,
to honor all our losses,
for those who went before us,
those beneath the crosses.