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Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018 12:01 am

TO THOSE WHO LIE IN BELLEAU WOOD

TO THOSE WHO LIE IN BELLEAU WOOD

This poem by my mother, then Vera Wardner,
was read at a memorial service held at Bois de
Belleau, Aisne, France, Dec. 25, 1923.
My father was also there with 30 Boy Scouts,
orphaned, who’d hiked 20 miles from Chateau
Thierry, where my future parents were working.
Both American and French generals were present.
(My mother’s brother died from gassing in WWI.)

We cannot make more glorious your gift
By futile words or tricks of clever pen;
To recompense so great a sacrifice
As yours, lies not within the power of men.
The strength and youth that you have here laid down
Has stilled war’s clamor, stopped its battle-blood;
These skies and hills once more with peace are crowned
And grasses grow again in Belleau Wood.
We can but say that we do not forget;
Can but repeat, “You have not died in vain” –
Ideals for which you strove are with us yet,
A flaming lamp to guide our feet again.
And though the days have lengthened into years
Since tumult ceased and victory was ours,
The Homeland thinks of you this Christmas Day,
And makes its offering of tear-dewed flowers.
With reverence and tenderness we bring
These laurels: Known or Unknown, do not sorrow;
Sleep on, beneath these flags, and dream again
Of world-wide peace: may this be true tomorrow.

©2018 Jacqueline Jackson

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