Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Way (I Wish) We Were

The Way (I Wish) We Were
©2012 Susan Noyes Anderson

In days gone by the town turned out,
dressed up in Sunday best,
to decorate the graves of men
who’d gone on to their rest.

They made us proud, our fighting men.
They blessed us, kept us free.
With flags and flowers, we embraced them
in sweet memory.

We honored them by closing Main Street
for the big parade.
We picnicked on their favorite foods
and drank sweet lemonade.

We sang Star Spangled Banner,
watched the boy scouts raise her high,
and pledged allegiance to this land
with nary a dry eye.

 Hands over hearts and hats removed,
we heard the bugle blow
and bowed our heads for soldiers slain
that day and long ago.

At home, we flew the colors––stars
and stripes––red, white, and blue.
We reverenced every sacrifice,
made sure our kids did, too.

We took nothing for granted, not
our freedom, not our pain.
We lived the lives they fought for, swore
their death was not in vain.

We loved our country freely then
and weren’t afraid to pray.
We sought (and taught) good character,
sent scoundrels on their way.

Ideals were hopeful, not naïve,
and dreams were goals worth setting.
Integrity and virtue were esteemed.
Are we forgetting?

Our symbols and our ceremonies
tell us what we treasure.
The things we celebrate reveal
more truth than we can measure.

 A nation that holds little dear
can find no solid ground.
Today I pray that some of what
we’ve lost may yet be found.

Remembering is everything.
Remember who we are:
one people, joined in liberty
by every stripe and star.


Gail said...

I am chilled with the beauty and the truth of this piece.

Thank God, there are some who still believe in God and the flag and the country that it stands for.

jen said...

So much truth in this short poem. We still respect those older soldiers, but why do the younger ones not command the same?

Eva Gallant said...

Very nicely done!

Jenny said...

Sue. Absolutely brilliant. Thank you for some wonderful memories.

The times, they are a changin'...and often I think for the worst.

yaya said...

Beautiful poem Sue. I'm glad our small town still has parades. Tomorrow I'll stand on the sidewalk and clap for our soldiers and veterans, then head to the beautiful cemetery and listen to the speeches and music. I'll get teary eyed when taps is played. It's something I hold dear to thank those that serve and remember those that gave their life for our freedoms. Hope your day is wonderful and meaningful too.

Ames said...

Wonderful tribute Sue! People today have no clue. Somewhere along the way the elderly forgot to teach and instill honor, and respect, God and Country. I hope these lessons aren't lost on our youth.~Ames

Dixie Mom said...

It makes me sad that most of our youth have no idea what Memorial Day is really for. I wish that we could go back to those days too.

Grandma Honey said...

Perfect Sue. So perfect.

Caroline said...

Bravo, Sue!

Well done, as always. You are not only a poet, but a patriot.

Sending love to you and hoping you are having a fantastic Memorial day.


ayala said...

A wonderful tribute, Sue!

Brian Miller said...

smiles....i too hope we regain some of what we once had...and can honor those men and women that gave all...i was looking for a parade to take my sons to this weekend and there are none within 75 miles...that is sad...thank you for reminding us sue...smiles...

Brian Miller said...

ps i love the song choice and just let it play for a bit...

Mary Mansfield said...

The America you describe can still be found to an extent in the small towns that dot the swath of land some like to refer to as "fly over country," and that America desperately needs to be restored from sea to shining sea. A renewed sense of honor and respect would go a long way toward fixing many of the ills in our society. A wonderful poem that brought me to tears!

Grandma Yellow Hair said...

Sue thank you for doing this awesome piece for us today.
It is such a great way to honor our service women and men.
Love ya

Snarky Belle said...

Thank you for sharing your gift with us. What a beautiful tribute!

Anonymous said...

fantastic, loved every stanza

Daydreamertoo said...

Such a lovely tribute to the fallen and, the serving brave.

Hannah said...

Perfect song pick and choice of words to convey such an important message. Thank you so much!

Kerry O'Connor said...

I wonder how many people take the time out to pay their respects these days.

Mary said...

Absolutely stunning! What a beautiful read on Memorial Day. Thank you!

karen said...

Such beautiful words Sue! We need to remember that Memorial Day is so much more than a long weekend and a sale at Macy's. I love how small(er) towns still go all out with parades and community activities. But I can still do my part with family activities of remembrance.

Susan said...

I remember these days! If they were in B&W, these snapshots could be in my family's messy picture box. While my own beliefs take me to different places these days, I regret that children don't receive an equal training and delight in citizenship to that we had. I saw the difference in teaching high school where many students don't know how to respect the flag or how to delight in being American.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

This is a fantastic presentation, your words, the photos and the inspiring music. You did a wonderful job of saying what's important.

Anonymous said...

So moving, Sue. This morning when I walked the dogs through our neighborhood, I was saddened by how few families flew their flags. And most of the ones I knew were older people. I share your wish.

Anonymous said...

Amen, Sue! Fantastic write, and beautiful photos! I've seen some great tributes today,but this is definitely my favorite. I agree with you!

Heaven said...

I enjoyed reading your post and looking at those beautiful and joyful pictures. Indeed we live in a free world because they have died for us ~ Thanks for honoring them today ~

anitamombanita said...

that's what's awesome about living in a small town...people do still get out and celebrate they way they should! love the poem!

Anonymous said...

nice narrative about the event!!

four memorial day senryu

Stef said...

What a great day to celebrate freedom! As always, you're amazing!

VK said...

Middle America hometowns are awesome. We should all be so lucky to participate in this.

Herotomost said...

Truly fitting write and a great tribute to better times. Loved it.

Anonymous said...

A finer piece on such a subject I have yet to read today. The words and the images fit so easily together. And sadly, you also touch upon some of the things that are wrong in this world.

Kim Nelson said...

Nearly an epic poem, this one, Sue. Thank you for sharing it. Brought tears and memories.

Mystic_Mom said...

AMEN! What a great write.

Connie said...

Beautifully said! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

This is beautiful Sue. I love the rhyme and flow, it adds to the piece. Very nicely written.

shawnacy said...

a true memorial.

Judi said...

Very touching tribute. Viewing your sweet home town photos, I felt like I was in Garrison Keilor's fictional "Lake Woebegone"! That gorgeous pink tree in the cemetery was stunning.

Wendy said...

Love the pictures and the words. I wish too. It makes me want to teach and teach and show by example.

Anonymous said...

Nice tribute to the soldier:)

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