Life Advice



Thoughts for Memorial Day

Annie Lane on

Dear Readers: Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for honoring and mourning the U.S. military personnel who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

"Vigil Strange I Kept on the Field One Night" by Walt Whitman

"Vigil strange I kept on the field one night; / When you my son and my comrade dropt at my side that day, / One look I but gave which your dear eyes return'd with a look I shall never forget, / One touch of your hand to mine O boy, reach'd up as you lay on the ground, / Then onward I sped in the battle, the even-contested battle, / Till late in the night reliev'd to the place at last again I made my way, / Found you in death so cold dear comrade, found your body son of responding kisses, (never again on earth responding,) / Bared your face in the starlight, curious the scene, cool blew the moderate night-wind, / Long there and then in vigil I stood, dimly around me the battle-field spreading, / Vigil wondrous and vigil sweet there in the fragrant silent night, / But not a tear fell, not even a long-drawn sigh, long, long I gazed, / Then on the earth partially reclining sat by your side leaning my chin in my hands, / Passing sweet hours, immortal and mystic hours with you dearest comrade -- not a tear, not a word, / Vigil of silence, love and death, vigil for you my son and my soldier, / As onward silently stars aloft, eastward new ones upward stole, / Vigil final for you brave boy, (I could not save you, swift was your death, / I faithfully loved you and cared for you living, I think we shall surely meet again,) / Till at latest lingering of the night, indeed just as the dawn appear'd, / My comrade I wrapt in his blanket, envelop'd well his form, / Folded the blanket well, tucking it carefully over head and carefully under feet, / And there and then and bathed by the rising sun, my son in his grave, in his rude-dug grave I deposited, / Ending my vigil strange with that, vigil of night and battle-field dim, / Vigil for boy of responding kisses, (never again on earth responding,) / Vigil for comrade swiftly slain, vigil I never forget, how as day brighten'd, / I rose from the chill ground and folded my soldier well in his blanket, / And buried him where he fell."

"The Fallen" by Randall W. West, courtesy of Family Friend Poems


"Fragile is a single life the brave so freely give. / Bound for immortality, their souls will surely live. / Death, don't be proud for what you took, they freely gave away. / Their quest for freedom far outweighed the fear that you convey. / They joined the ranks of warriors, staying vigil day and night. / They often skipped a meal or two, but they never missed a fight. / God bless the men and women whose fighting days are done. / Say a special prayer at night for each and every one. / Rest assured that you will find throughout the coming years / These fallen warriors will return in the hearts of all their peers! / If we forget their sacrifice, their deaths will be in vain. / Let's stand beside their loved ones as we sing their last refrain: / You've come upon our heaven's gate / You surely won't have long to wait. / The saints will take good care of you, / But there is still a lot to do. / You've joined the ranks of everyone / Who fought so freedom could be won. / Although your job on earth is done, / Your work in heaven's just begun."


Annie Lane's second anthology -- "How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?" -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to




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