Dear Kenneth …
We mourned for Leland this afternoon,
Heard muted rifles fire staccato salutes
Above his new casket at Arlington, and
Agonized privately as the bugler
Plaintively echoed Taps
Across misty access roads,
Curving between white marble stones.
Then tonight we visited a memorial
At rest high on a green hill
White Doric columns offset
A great alabaster image
Of the seated President Lincoln.
Majestic in quiet dignity.
We walked down at almost midnight
To look for your father's name.
Others were there also.
People strolled slowly,
Lost in respect …
Coppered bronze statuary
Of our men in jungle gear stood there,
Guarding hallowed ground.
Glistening, black granite wings
Yielded name after name after name,
Slab upon slab of names, rising in height
From tapered tips to central heavy count.
We searched for Ed's name, for his slab -
That old war eagle we loved so much
Was there, his spirit soaring,
Dignified by the utter quiet
Of solemnity, and dark wilted roses.
His worn Navy wings now shine again,
And symbolize each feature, name and slab,
Of the newer memorial wall wings
Seen at this special place.
They honor all the fallen engraved here.
Dear Kenneth, we owe him, and them,
So very much.
Jim Parker, 1990