Come Visit My Grave

May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Commemoration 2008

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Come Visit My Grave ©

Written By James D. Rolfes
I am a Veteran under the sod.
I’m in good company, I’m up here with God.
Come to my grave and visit me.
I gave my life so you could be free.
Today is Memorial Day throughout this great land.
There’s Avenues of Flags, Parades and Bands.
I can hear music, the firing squads and taps.
Here come my comrades, the Legionnaires, the Blue caps.
One of them just put a flag on my stone.
Some day he’ll have one of his own.
Some think of this day as just a day free of toil.
While others are busy working the soil.
They say they have plans, other things to do.
Don’t put us aside as you would an old shoe.
Come visit my grave in this cemetery so clean.
This is what Memorial Day means.
There are many of us lying in wake less sleep.
In cemeteries of green and oceans of deep.
It’s sad that for many who fought so brave.
No one comes to visit their grave.
They died so you could have one whole year free.
Now can’t you save this one Day for me?
There are soldiers, sailors, airmen up here.
Who went into battle despite of their fear.
I’ve been talking up here to all of those men.
If they had to do it over, they’d do it again.
Look, someone is coming to visit my grave.
It’s my Family, for them my life I gave.
My wife, I remember our last embrace.
As I left the tears streamed down your face.
I think you knew the day I was shipped out.
I wouldn’t return, your life would be turned about.
There’s my daughter that I used to hold.
Can it be that you’re nearly twenty years old?
Next month is to be your wedding day.
I wish I could be there to give you away.
My son’s here too, Dad’s little man.
Always love your Country, do for it what you can.
There is one thing that really did bother.
Is seeing you grow up without the aid of your Father.
I wish you could all hear me from up above.
That’s a father’s best gift to his children is love.
And what better way to prove my love to the end.
Is that a man lay down his life for his friends.
I see it’s time for you to go home.
Your visit made it easier to remain here alone.
Don’t cry honey, you look too sad.
Our children are free, you should be so glad.
Daughter, thanks for the bouquet so cute.
Thank you son for that sharp salute.
Come again, I forgot, you can’t hear me from up here.
But I know you’ll come visit me again next year.
I hope all veterans are treated this way.
On this day to remember, Memorial Day.

Troop 25 participates in the annual Memorial Day service at the local high school gym.  After the veterans have decorated the graves and returned to town, our Scouts present a wreath of remembrance, while the Girl Scouts lead the Pledge of Allegiance.

The gym is set up for graduation the day before and the Memorial crowd is dwarfed in the large room.  I was honored to be asked to read this poem this year.  As is said, too many have plans, other things to do.  It seems like each year there are fewer veterans and their families gathered there.  I googled the text on a website gone 404 now, but did find this from Iowa nearby:

“As the roster was read this morning, there was a lot of friends on there,” says Jim Rolfes, American Legion 9th District Commander, who served in Vietnam.

“I think you knew the day I shipped out, that I wouldn’t return. Your life be turned about,” reads Rolfes, from his poem Come Visit My Grave

“Someday my name’s going to be on that list so I suppose it’s getting a little harder,” says Rolfes.

You can see this bit of the author of the poem on camera here.

The Google cache said it was OK to use.  I hope it still is.

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