Memorial Day: remembering those seldom honored

    First in my thoughts on Memorial Day 1995, as I reflected on the forgotten and unsung, who fought in our immediate past wars was my great-uncle Mark Harris, who died with influenza in 1918, while serving at Fort Vancouver on the Columbia River, Washington. He is only remembered with a small stone that is barely large enough for his name and birth and death years in Bayview Cemetery in Bellingham, Washington. Then, my thoughts jumped eight time zones to Fountains Hall, once a Jacobean mansion in North Yorkshire, where Helen and I had recently visited, and a plaque still mounted in the ruins commemorating the owners’ 19 year-old son, an aviator, and 18 year-old daughter, a nurse, who died in World War II.

 

    Memorial Day

for Mark Harris, 1893-1918

 

A cloudless sky,

    a day filled with spring,

    a day to remember those

    who lay in common ground,

Fallen without honor,

    unseen by us,

    whose flags they bore.

 

As volleys resound in sharp salute

    and banners dip to a trumpet’s call,

it is our day to remember

    the plaques that cling to crumbling walls,

    and plead as we pass by:

 

Tell them of us and say,

for your tomorrow,

we gave our today.

                                 Bellingham, WA, 1995