Sunday, November 10, 2013

Veteran's Day

My old frenemy, NaNoWriMo is back in full force, so I've mostly been spending my time at the computer over there.  Or on Facebook.  Because you know how it goes.

But tonight I was honored to be involved in a special choir that was performing for a tribute to the Veterans in our area.  I had been a little nervous about how the songs were going to go, because some of them were sort of challenging (we sang "Battle Hymn of the Republic", the version that earned the Mormon Tabernacle Choir their Grammy, and that wasn't even our hardest song).

But it came out so nicely, and I thought the whole night was beautiful.  I don't know why, but I always cry when I hear the songs representing each of the divisions of the armed forces, in particular the Marines song and the Navy song get me.  We were supposed to sing the songs with the presenting of each flag, and I was crying so hard through most of them I just couldn't. I don't know what that is about, but perhaps the pride and the courage of those men and women that are illustrated by the words just speaks to my heart.

I mean, do you know these songs?

Anchors aweigh, my boys! anchors aweigh! farewell to college joys, we sail at the break of day.  Through our last night on shore, hail to the foam, until we meet once more, here's wishing you a happy voyage home! (NAVY)

Off we go into the wild blue yonder climbing high into the sun; here they come zooming to meet our thunder, at 'em boys, give 'er the gun!  Down we dive spouting our flame from under, off with one helluva roar! (yes, this meeting was held in our church building, and you could hear the choir stumble through that last line, but no lightning struck...) We live in fame or go down in flame, nothing'll stop the Army Air Force! (AIR FORCE)

We're always ready for the call, we place our trust in thee.  Through howling gail and shot and shell to win our victory.  Semper Paratus is our guide, our pledge, our motto, too.  We're "always ready" do or die, aye Coast Guard, we fight for you. (COAST GUARD)

Over hill, over dale as we hit the dusty trail, and those caissons go rolling along. In and out, hear them shout, counter march and right about, and those caissons go rolling along.  Then it's hi! hi! hee! in the field artillery, shout out our numbers loud and strong, for where e'er you go, you will always know that those caissons go rolling along.  (ARMY)

From the Halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli; we fight our country's battles on the land as on the sea; First to fight for right and freedom and to keep our honor clean; we are proud to claim the title of United States Marine. (MARINES)

Maybe you had to be there, but to see those men standing as their song was sung, to see their proud faces and their upright postures, some of them so old and some of them so young.  To look at them and to know that the things they have seen, and the things they have had to do, all so that I can sit at home and be comfortable and warm and safe.

And because I like poetry,

Concord Hymn:

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard round the world.

The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
and Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.

On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set today a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.

Spirit, that made those heroes dare
to die, and leave their children free,
bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
(1803-1882)

2 comments:

  1. There is something about Patriotism that gets me too. One of my hardest cries happened at the conclusion of my American Heritage class at BYU. Not only am I not a crier, but I didn't see another single person crying. It absolutely slays me. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing, Ames.

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