May 30th, 2011

Memorial Day

The Young Dead Soldiers Do Not Speak

Nevertheless they are heard in the still houses: who has not heard them?

They have a silence that speaks for them at night and when the clock counts.

They say, We were young. We have died. Remember us.

They say, We have done what we could but until it is finished it is not done.

They say, We have given our lives but until it is finished no one can know what our lives gave.

They say, Our deaths are not ours: they are yours: they will mean what you make them.

They say, Whether our lives and our deaths were for peace and a new hope or for nothing we cannot say: it is you who must say this.

They say, We leave you our deaths: give them their meaning: give them an end to the war and a true peace: give them a victory that ends the war and a peace afterwards: give them their meaning.

We were young, they say. We have died. Remember us.

By Archibald MacLeish, Poet, Librarian of Congress, WWI artillery officer.

Honoring 1LT Willis J. McElroy, killed in action during World War I.

My friends and family on Facebook are already familiar with him, he was my grandma’s uncle who died before she was born.

What they may not know is I had no idea he lived and died serving our country until several years ago. Another branch of the family not nearly as directly connected and who had several generations of namesakes honoring him let me know as we were collaborating on genealogy research.

I was mortified and am still somewhat furious that my family had forgotten him.

Never again.

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