Veteran’s Day is tomorrow, Thursday, November 11.
I have been fortunate in my life to have very little personal contact with war. My parents were too young for WWII and even Korea. My friends and family were too young for Vietnam. The current GulfWar1,2WaronTerrorIraqAfghanistan has been going on for so long that of course I know people who have served, but no one very close to me. Still, I am thankful to those who serve in the military and moved by their lives of heroism and sacrifice.
There are worthwhile Veterans Day celebrations and tributes all over the country tomorrow, including a program at the local Junior High which started when the daughters were there and has been held yearly since. But you know me, not much into crowds and public hoopla. I’d much rather find some small, personal way to pay tribute. And then I read today’s poem on the Poetry Daily website. I linked to it so you could connect to it’s proper, permissioned posting, but here is the poem, reprinted without permission:
Candles – by Stephen Sandy
When the war came that year it was the fashion to place
a light in the window then lights went on each night to give
some shape to a dark that rose from the streets a flood swelling
with fear while they waited for reliable news from the front.
A candle or electric holiday light that looked like a candle
showed you supported the troops showed you were on board
perhaps even a parent of one out there and you
honored their loved ones of course and were opposed to war
and prayed this one would soon be over. In the event
few fell if thousands of enemy perished slowly triumph
broke out over the city soon candles winked out as when
a parade has passed and the music fades—though in one window
a light burned on long after the war was history. What
did it mean who lit it each night that far watch fire burning.
I really like this poem. It gave me an idea for what feels like the perfect Veterans Day commemoration. When I wake up in the morning, I’m going to turn on a special light (and light a candle while I’m home) and leave it on all day. Won’t you join me?