I stood atop a large, green hill,
Following the cement path.
I looked at the ground
Because what do you do
In a place as sacred as this?
I squeezed my eyes shut, took a deep breath
I offered a prayer
And slowly lifted my head.
Tears stung my eyes, my throat closed shut
At the surreal sight before me.
Rolling hills filled with thousands of white headstones.
My head lowered again, not out of fear,
But in an attempt to show my respect.
I muttered a second small prayer:
“God, bless these men, their families,
and all who come before and after.
Thank you for this country,
And help me try and understand
the sacrifice of the soldiers.”
I raised my head, once again
To try and wrap my mind around this.
But something new had appeared.
Each headstone was no longer alone, I saw
A soldier by every one.
Tears flowed down my cheeks as I gazed upon
The spirits of those who gave their lives
So that I could be free.
They all stood there, saluting,
And looking past where I stood.
Following their determined stares, I turned
To see the symbol of our country,
Waving proudly behind me.
I saluted the red, white, and blue
And wiped those tears from my eyes.
When I turned back, the fields
Were empty again.
I continued on my way and reverently
began to hum
“Oh say can you see
By the dawn’s early light.”
A chorus of unknown voices
Sung as I walked and I
Smiled because I had joined
In the soldier’s song.