We always went and watched the parade go by;
And then we hustled along by short-cut sidewalks
To arrive at the cemetery first and stand
Where we could see the bugler play the taps
And the riflemen fire to heaven before we scrambled
To salvage the empty shells that their noise left over.
It wasn’t Memorial Day without a band
And a flag and a flag and a flag for our silent honor
While boys remembered a tale they had never heard,
But felt in their bones as a blend of sadness and glory
Requiring more than a picnic to celebrate.
May, 28, 1960, The Saturday Evening Post
Become a Saturday Evening Post member and enjoy unlimited access. Subscribe now