Wake up, Private, they will be here soon.
Colonel, wake up, it’s Memorial Day.
Somebody poke the Lieutenant over there and make sure he’s awake, too. They’re celebrating Memorial Day, and they will be here soon.
They will be here with small American flags pushed through the grass and earth on top of us.
They bring the fragrance of newly blossomed flowers, the stems still moist from the fresh cuts.
They will be here soon with trumpets to remember us and what we did in Arlington and Richmond, Leesburg, Gettysburg and Normandy.
They will come to read our names, touch our headstones.
They will think about you, over there, at Bunker Hill, and you, beyond, and the rest of the men from Fort McHenry.
There will be a salute with rifles, and it will be for you who came here from Guadalcanal and Pork Chop Hill, and you, beyond, from the jungles of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Grenada.
Wake up, Sergeant, they are coming with a speech for you and your soul mates from Beirut and Desert Storm.
They will be here for you, the men and women from Somalia and Panama and the recent fallen in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Stay awake, now, sailor. They will be here soon with a song for you and your mates from the Iowa and the Arizona, the Pueblo, the USS Liberty, the Stark, and the Cole.
And you who served in time of peace but faced the fire and fever while patrolling freedom’s wall, they are coming because you gave the last full measure of devotion.
They are coming with quiet voices.
The assembled will again resolve that none of us, not one of us here, died in vain.
They will pledge that our rows will not lengthen without just cause or without the prayerful counsel of a united nation.
They will deliver to us the sweet, enduring promise that the United States of America shall not perish from the Earth.
They will be here soon, our sons and daughters, our wives and husbands, our mothers and fathers, our brothers and sisters, and those who never knew us.
They have not forgotten.