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Celebrating Memorial Day at The Holiday Zone

Decorating the Soldiers' Graves
Minot J. Savage

A silent bivouac of the dead, we say,
     While on the low green tents we lay our flowers,
And with soft tread we take our reverent way
     Past where each seems to sleep away the hours.

A silent bivouac? Nay, they sleep not here:
     They have passed on; and, gleaming bright ahead,
Their camp-fires on yon heights of truth appear,
     Lighting the way that coining feet shall tread.

Their shot-torn flags still wave upon the air,
     There where some new heroic deed is done;
And, echoing loud, their shout still ringeth where
     Some new field waits, by brave hearts to be won.

The brave die never, though they sleep in dust:
     Their courage nerves a thousand living men,
Who seize and carry on the sacred trust,
     And win their noble victories o'er again.

Their graves are cradles of the purpose high
     That led them on the weary march, and through
The battles where the dying do not die,
     But live forever in the deeds they do.

And from these cradles rise the coming years,—
     The dead souls resurrected,—still to keep,
The memory of those times of blood and tears,
     And carry on the work of those who sleep.

And thus the silent bivouac of the dead
     Finds voice, and thrills with throbbing life to-day;
And we, who softly by their green tents tread,
     Will hear and heed the noble words they say.
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