We Are Not Many: A Poem for Memorial Day

Forest Lawn Cemetery - Omaha, Nebraska


We are not many, we who stand
Beside our comrades’ graves today,
But remnants of a patriot band —
Ere long we too shall pass away;
Yet while we live, with reverent hearts
We’ll honor those who went before;
While as each brother, called, departs,
Is re-enlisted one name more.

We’re growing old, who’re left behind,
With children ’round our knees;
While still our stories, to their mind,
Are finer than the history’s.
We are to them as heroes true,
And love of country thrills each heart,
For we can tell of what we know,
Of battles where we bore our part.

We strew bright flowers o’er our dead,
And smiles are mingling with them there;
No longer o’er them tears are shed —
We know the uniform they wear.
The flag still saves that o’er them waves;
But, as the pilgrim years go by,
How few are left to deck their graves,
And fewer — till we with them lie.

We stand upon the river’s verge,
And see the Golden City shine
Where all earth’s warring discords merge
Into sweet harmonies divine —
Dividing River, bright and cool,
O’er which we all must take our way,
When to that Harbor Beautiful
We all shall sail some day, some day.

— George Birdseye.

Carroll Herald (Carroll, Iowa) May 27, 1914

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