Lilacs, Tulips and a Salute

On Veteran’s Day, we wear poppies in honor of those who’ve fought for freedoms.  Today we gaze at the budding lavender and unfurling tulips and appreciate our soldiers.  Happy Memorial Day, from the PrairieFrogs.  (Scroll down to read the full text of the poem and to see Kieran’s attempt at a salute to our soldiers.)

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The Things that Make a Soldier Great

Edgar A. Guest

 The things that make a soldier great and send him out to die,
To face the flaming cannon’s mouth nor ever question why,
Are lilacs by a little porch, the row of tulips red,
The peonies and pansies, too, the old petunia bed,
The grass plot where his children play, the roses on the wall:
‘Tis these that make a soldier great. He’s fighting for them all.

Tis not the pomp and pride of kings that make a soldier brave;
‘Tis not allegiance to the flag that over him may wave;
For soldiers never fight so well on land or on the foam
As when behind the cause they see the little place called home.
Endanger but that humble street whereon his children run,
You make a soldier of the man who never bore a gun.

What is it through the battle smoke the valiant solider sees?
The little garden far away, the budding apple trees,
The little patch of ground back there, the children at their play,
Perhaps a tiny mound behind the simple church of gray.
The golden thread of courage isn’t linked to castle dome
But to the spot, where’er it be — the humblest spot called home.

And now the lilacs bud again and all is lovely there
And homesick soldiers far away know spring is in the air;
The tulips come to bloom again, the grass once more is green,
And every man can see the spot where all his joys have been.
He sees his children smile at him, he hears the bugle call,
And only death can stop him now — he’s fighting for them all.

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I know it looks more like he’s shading his eyes, but Kieran thinks he’s saluting…

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