Memorial Day is set aside to remember and honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in all wars fought. I thank the families who raised the caliber of men and women who went in harms way for a bigger cause, and I send you my heartfelt condolences for your loss.
Monday is Memorial Day for our American men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice. In all your festivities this weekend, please take just a second to give a silent prayer of thanks, or just a moment of silence if you do not pray, for those who sacrificed so you can enjoy this day.
Many of you will be posting about this day. This is my Memorial Day contribution:
The HBO series, The Pacific, was based in part on a book by Robert Leckie (Dec. 18, 1920 - Dec 24, 2001) a former Marine of the 1st Division who fought as a machine-gunner in every battle of the Pacific except Okinawa (because he was recovering from a blast concussion received on Peleiu.) This poem was take from his first book written in 1957, ‘Helmet For My Pillow - From Parris Island to the Pacific.’
The Battle of the Tenaru, August 21, 1942 by Robert Leckie
A helmet for my pillow, A poncho for my bed, My rifle rests across my chest- The stars swing overhead.
The whisper of the kunai, The murmur of the sea, The sighing palm and night so calm Betray no enemy.
Hear! river bank so silent You men who sleep around That foreign scream across the stream- Up! Fire at the sound!
Sweeping over the sandspit That blocks the Tenaru With Banzai-boast a mushroomed host Vows to destroy our few.
Into your holes and gunpits! Kill them with rifles and knives! Feed them with lead until they are dead- And widowed are their wives.
Sons of the mothers who gave you Honor and gift of birth Strike with the knife till blood and life Run out upon the earth.
Marines, keep faith with your glory Keep to your trembling hole. Intruder feel of Nippon steel Can't penetrate your soul.
Closing, they charge all howling Their breasts all targets large. The gun must shake, the bullets make A slaughter of their charge.
Red are the flashing tracers, Yellow the bursting shells. Hoarse is the cry of men who die Shrill are the woundeds' yells.
God, how the night reels stricken! She shrieks with orange spark. The mortar's lash and cannon's crash Have crucified the dark.
Falling, the faltering foemen Beneath our guns lie heaped. By greenish glare of rocket's flare We see the harvest reaped.
Now has the first fierce onslaught Been broken and hammered back. Hammered and hit, from hole and pit- We rise up to attack!
Day bursts pale from a gun tube, The gibbering night has fled. By light of dawn the foe has drawn A line behind his dead.
Our tanks clank in behind him, Our riflemen move out. Their hearts have met our bayonet- It's ended wit a shout.
"Cease fire!" -the words go ringing, Over the heaps of the slain. The battle's won, the Rising Sun Lies riddled on the plain.
St. Michael, angel of battle We praise you to God on high. The foe you gave was strong and brave And unafraid to die.
Speak to the Lord for our comrades, Killed when the battle seemed lost. They went to meet a bright defeat- The hero's holocaust.
False is the vaunt of the victor, Empty our living pride. For those who fell there is no hell- Not for the brave who died. . .