On thy grave the rain shall fall from the eyes of a mighty nation!— Thomas William Parsons, Dirge For One Who Fell in Battle
And they who for their country die shall fill an honored grave, for glory lights the soldier’s tomb, and beauty weeps the brave.— Joseph Rodman Drake, To the Defenders of New Orleans
And I’m proud to be an American,— Lee Greenwood
where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.
For love of country they accepted death.— James A. Garfield
These heroes are dead. They died for liberty – they died for us. They are at rest. They sleep in the land they made free, under the flag they rendered stainless, under the solemn pines, the sad hemlocks, the tearful willows, and the embracing vines. They sleep beneath the shadows of the clouds, careless alike of sunshine or of storm, each in the windowless Place of Rest. Earth may run red with other wars – they are at peace. In the midst of battle, in the roar of conflict, they found the serenity of death. I have one sentiment for soldiers living and dead: cheers for the living; tears for the dead.— Robert G. Ingersoll
How sleep the brave, who sink to rest,— William Collins, Ode
By all their country’s wishes blest!
When Spring, with dewy fingers cold,
Returns to deck their hallow’d mould,
She there shall dress a sweeter sod
Than Fancy’s feet have ever trod.
By fairy hands their knell is rung,
There Honour comes, a pilgrim gray,
To bless the turf that wraps their clay;
And Freedom shall awhile repair,
To dwell, a weeping hermit, there.
Our battle-fields, safe in the keeping— Silas Wier Mitchell, Those Rebel Flags
Of Nature’s kind, fostering care,
Are blooming, – our heroes are sleeping, -
And peace broods perennial there.
Decoration Day is the most beautiful of our national holidays. The grim cannon have turned into palm branches, and the shell and shrapnel into peach blossoms.— Thomas Bailey Aldrich
The brave die never, though they sleep in dust:— Minot J. Savage, Decorating the Soldiers’ Graves
Their courage nerves a thousand living men.
Better than honor and glory, and History’s iron pen,— Richard Watson Gilder, The Burial of Sherman
Was the thought of duty done and the love of his fellow-men.
We who are left, how shall we look again— Wilfred Wilson Gibson, Lament
Happily on the sun or feel the rain
Without remembering how they who went
Ungrudgingly and spent
Their lives for us loved, too, the sun and rain?
Blow out, you bugles, over the rich Dead!— Rupert Brooke, The Dead
There’s none of these so lonely and poor of old,
But, dying, has made us rarer gifts than gold.
Our cheer goes back to them, the valiant dead!— Richard Hovey, The Call of the Bugles
Laurels and roses on their graves to-day,
Lilies and laurels over them we lay,
And violets o’er each unforgotten head.
Alas, how can we help but mourn— Silar Weir Mitchell, Herndon
When hero bosoms yield their breath!
A century itself may bear
But once the flower of such a death.
The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example.— Benjamin Disraeli
It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.— George S. Patton
Is’t death to fall for Freedom’s right?— Thomas Campbell, Hallowed Ground
He’s dead alone who lacks her light!
The patriot’s blood is the seed of Freedom’s tree.— Thomas Campbell, Stanzas
Are they dead that yet speak louder than we can speak, and a more universal language? Are they dead that yet act? Are they dead that yet move upon society and inspire the people with nobler motives and more heroic patriotism?— Henry Ward Beecher
They fell, but o’er that glorious grave— Francis Marion Crawford
Floats free the banner of the cause they died to save.
Green sods are all their monument; and yet it tells— James Gates Percival, The Graves of the Patriots
A nobler history than pillared piles,
Or the eternal pyramids.
Peace to each manly soul that sleepeth;— Thomas Moore, How Oft Has the Banshee Cried
Rest to each faithful eye that weepeth…
I have never been able to think of the day as one of mourning; I have never quite been able to feel that half-masted flags were appropriate on Decoration Day. I have rather felt that the flag should be at the peak, because those whose dying we commemorate rejoiced in seeing it where their valor placed it. We honor them in a joyous, thankful, triumphant commemoration of what they did.— Benjamin Harrison
Cover them over with beautiful flowers,— Will Carleton, Cover Them Over
Deck them with garlands, those brothers of ours,
Lying so silent by night and by day
Sleeping the years of their manhood away.
Give them the meed they have won in the past;
Give them the honors their future forcast;
Give them the chaplets they won in the strife;
Give them the laurels they lost with their life.
Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations, that we have forgotten, as a people, the cost of a free and undivided Republic.— John A. Logan
They are dead; but they live in each Patriot’s breast,— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Battle of Lovell’s Pond
And their names are engraven on honor’s bright crest.
Your silent tents of green— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Decoration Day
We deck with fragrant flowers;
Yours has the suffering been,
The memory shall be ours.
All we have of freedom, all we use or know -— Rudyard Kipling, The Old Issue
This our fathers bought for us long and long ago.
Spirit, that made those heroes dare— Ralph Waldo Emerson, Concord Hymn
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.
We come, not to mourn our dead soldiers, but to praise them.— Francis Amasa Walker