Veteran’s Day

Just a quick post to give a shout-out to all our men and women in uniform, currently serving or with prior service. Be well, be safe, thanks to all my old shipmates for the camaraderie and everything I learned and gained from you.

Here’s a photo of my dad in WWII:

And this is my great-uncle Stephen, Dad’s uncle on his dad’s side. He was a medic in WWI.

Uncle Stephen’s brother Michael also served in the Great War, but to my knowledge there are no photos of him. He died in the Rouge Bouquet Bunker bombardment, part of the Fighting 69th, in which the poet Joyce Kilmer also served. After the war ended, Stephen went back to France to find his brother’s final resting place. A cousin of mine (second cousin) tells me he has been in touch with the 69th, and to this day, Kilmer’s poem is read at all military funerals of the members of the 69th. The movie, “The Fighting 69th” starring Jimmy Cagney, depicted this unit.

The Fighting 69th
Image via Wikipedia

Here is the poem, for those who don’t click through to the site:

Rouge Bouquet
by Joyce Kilmer

In a wood they call Rouge Bouquet
There is a new-made grave today,
Built by never a spade nor pick
Yet covered with earth 10 meters thick.
There lie many fighting men,
Dead in their youthful prime,
Never to laugh nor love again
Nor taste the Summertime.
For Death came flying through the air
And stopped his flight at the dugout stair,
Touched his prey and left them there,
Clay to clay.
He hid their bodies stealthily
In the soil of the land they fought to free
And fled away.
Now over the grave abrupt and clear
Three volleys ring;
And perhaps their brave young spirits hear
The bugles sing:
“Go to sleep!
Go to sleep!
Slumber well where the shell screamed and fell.
Let your rifles rest on the muddy floor,
You will not need them any more.
Danger’s past;
Now at last,
Go to sleep!”

There is on earth no worthier grave
To hold the bodies of the brave
Than this place of pain and pride
Where they nobly fought and nobly died.
Never fear but in the skies
Saints and angels stand
Smiling with their holy eyes
On this new-come band.
St. Michael’s sword darts through the air
and touches the aureole on his hair
As he sees them stand saluting there,
His stalwart sons:
And Patrick, Brigid, Columkill
Rejoice that in veins of warriors still
The Gael’s blood runs.
And up to Heaven’s doorway floats,
From the wood called Rouge Bouquet,
A delicate cloud of bugle notes
That softly say:
Comrades true, born anew, peace to you!
Your souls shall be where the heroes are
And your memory shine like the morning-star.
Brave and dear,
Shield us here.

8 thoughts on “Veteran’s Day

  1. What a touching post, DD!

    And much respects sent to your family. I was really touched about your great uncle going back to where his brother fell.

    That’s a Cagney film that I don’t recall seeing. When I do watch it one day, I’ll surely think of your family.


  2. Thanks, Tasha. The ones who served in WWI are so often forgotten now, overshadowed by more recent events. I am very proud of my family’s service in all the different wars. I only wish I’d gotten more photos uploaded in time. I have a few really excellent ones of my dad while he was serving in Belgium but didn’t think ahead enough to get them included here.


  3. LOvely and timely, DD! Thank you for your service, and love to your family on behalf of me & my dad, who fought on D-Day and lived to tell about it.


  4. Thanks. Unfortunately, my dad was so tight-lipped about his time in the service I don’t even know where he was on D-Day. Someday I hope to be able to research it, there must be records somewhere.


    1. Nah, pretty sure not. And if it was, those records would be very difficult to get, even today. No, Dad was just not the type to romanticize the war, and found nothing particularly glorious in it. There are a couple of Viet Nam vets at work, and they can talk E.N.D.L.E.S.S.L.Y about their time in, I gather it was the best time of their lives. Dad was the opposite. It was something he had to do at the time, but when he got out he got on with life.


  5. Many thanks to you and your family, DD. there were quite a few well-dressed service members in NYC today. and the ESB was lit up red/white/blue. striking to see.


  6. Hi Rosie!

    Thanks. I’ll have to see if I can find a pic of it, that does sound like quite the sight. Hope all is well with you these days, I know you’re crazy-busy. Are you traveling?


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