She continued: “Memorial Day has always been my favorite holiday. When I was a high school student, it marked the end of the school year and a final act of service to my community, as I led our marching band through our town, through the cemetery where we paused to honor the dead.
We long for the past, for people and places.
We long for time spent with other than memories.
No parade to cheer us, no blare of trumpet, no flags
to wave. We live in the forced quiet of this moment.
Sacrifice they tell us, for the common good.
Like the sacrifice our ancestors made, they who marched
away, not for a moment, not for a day. Away away, forever.
We need this quiet sacrifice they tell us, to focus
on what’s been shaken, to pray for what could be,
to hope for better days ahead. Share this sacrifice
and see what we can do to keep each other safe and well.
In war after war, women, men and boys shared the strife for flag
and country. Wreaths get placed on their graves, at monuments.
Care for the care they showed. Sacrifice on sacrifice they made.
So be even quieter today. Pause inside the pause. Remember
those who gave and gave all. Long for what’s ahead, keep
your heart ready for the next time we stand together
and raise the flag to remember how good it feels to share.
Carol Willette Bachofner, poet laureate emerita, Rockland
Memorial Day 2020