Sonnet for Memorial Day
here to honor those who went to war
did not wish to die,
did die grievously in 1861, 2009,
they were peaceable as you or me.
and cheerful, knowing little of horror,
and athletes, and all in all well-bred.
sergeants, turned them into warriors,
at the end they were moving straight ahead.
we look at these headstones row on row on row,
us see them as they were, laughing and joking
that bright, irreverent morning long ago,
once more, let our hearts be broken.
have mercy on them for their unhappy gift.
we live the good lives they would have lived.
sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence
on those who would do us harm."
- George Orwell