26 May 2008

The Torch Has Passed

The Blue and the Gray

by Francis Miles Finch

BY the flow of the inland river,
Whence the fleets of iron have fled,
Where the blades of the grave-grass quiver,
Asleep are the ranks of the dead:

Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment-day;
Under the one, the Blue,
Under the other, the Gray.

These in the robings of glory,
Those in the gloom of defeat,
All with the battle-blood gory,
In the dusk of eternity meet:

Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment-day;
Under the laurel, the Blue,
Under the willow, the Gray.

From the silence of sorrowful hours
The desolate mourners go,
Lovingly laden with flowers
Alike for the friend and the foe:

Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment-day;
Under the roses, the Blue,
Under the lilies, the Gray.

So with an equal splendor,
The morning sun-rays fall,
With a touch impartially tender,
On the blossoms blooming for all:

Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment-day;
Broidered with gold, the Blue,
Mellowed with gold, the Gray.

So, when the summer calleth,
On forest and field of grain,
With an equal murmur falleth
The cooling drop of the rain:

Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment-day;
Wet with the rain, the Blue,
Wet with the rain, the Gray.

Sadly, but not with upbraiding,
The generous deed was done,
In the storm of the years that are fading
No braver battle was won:

Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment-day;
Under the blossoms, the Blue
Under the garlands, the Gray.

No more shall the war cry sever,
Or the winding rivers be red;
They banish our anger forever
When they laurel the graves of our dead!

Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment-day;
Love and tears for the Blue,
Tears and love for the Gray.

As a child, visiting the graves on Memorial Day(or Decoration Day as it was called then) and arranging flowers over my grandmother's and uncle's graves In Belleville where we lived was a tradition. We would go early in the morning.

After my mother died, I was not in the area to be able to go to her grave on Memorial Day. After I got to be 17, Dad and I moved back to the town Mom grew up in and the tradition started anew. Dad would buy a big hanging basket of purple petunias(her favorite) and we would take them out to the cemetary early in the morning. We also took flowers for my grandparents and aunt. As the years went by, my kids came along and they, too, got into the tradition of going to the cemetary on Memorial Day to not only visit my side of the family, but their great uncle who was killed in World War I, their grandmother and great grandmother. Their dad's parents always took care of the flowers for their graves but we would go by and visit with them. Then we would go out to the other cemetary and visit with their other great grandmother and great grandfather.

Yesterday my kids went to the graves alone as I was 2 hours away. They called to tell me about their visit. I haven't been able to wrap my mind around the fact that these kids who I took as children to the cemetary, taught them to respect the graves and told them about the family of theirs they never met are now the ones who are going to the graves, making sure that flowers are there and carrying on the tradition.

I'm glad they honor the legacy.

But the torch has passed, and I know it's one of many.

This one just snuck up on me.


Wonderful World of Weiners said...

You obviously have some great kids.

We bought the large dog bed which is seriously made for BIG dogs. But we thought the 2 wiener dogs would like a lot of space....just had no idea that Connor would love it too!

The other cave bed we have is a meedium and it is still roomy. Could have easily gone with another medium. Guess I'm just hung up on the "bigger is better" motto!

Hallie :)

Laura ~Peach~ said...

HUGS yes you have great kids and thats a great legacy to pass...
I added part two at the bottom of part on its in blue so... come back when you get time ...
More hugssssssss

Flea said...

Ness, I'm sure you're very proud of your kids. Fantastic job as a mom.

dlyn said...

Awesome post Ness - and awesome kids too!

Alice said...

They obviously learned well from their mother. What a beautiful testimony of their love for you.

Mama Bear said...

Our children learn from us, and make us proud sometimes. Good job, Ness. Loved your post. You are a great lady!

God Bless~