A woman reading a little red book

 

Compiled by Jacob Terranova

 

As we come together this Memorial Day to honor America’s heroes, we wanted to share some memorial poems for inspiration. Feel free to incorporate these poems into a special Memorial Day service, share on social media, or share with area families this Memorial Day.

 

For the Fallen — Laurence Binyon

Binyon’s poem is used in military memorial services around the world. It was first written to honor soldiers who died in the onset of WWI but has since been used to honor casualties of all wars.

 

“They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.


They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.”

 

Read the full poem here.

 

Decoration Day — Henry Longfellow

Longfellow’s poem is about the original holiday, known as Decoration Day. It was a day set aside for the nation to decorate the graves of soldiers who died in the Civil War. Decoration Day eventually changed into what we now call Memorial Day.

 

“Rest, comrades, rest and sleep!
The thoughts of men shall be
As sentinels to keep
Your rest from danger free.

 

Your silent tents of green
We deck with fragrant flowers
Yours has the suffering been,
The memory shall be ours.”

 

Read the full poem here.

 

The Things That Make a Soldier Great — Edward Guest

Guest’s poem — like much of his other work — is optimistic and upbeat. Here he reminds us of all the good things a soldier fights for.

 

“’Tis not the pomp and pride of kings that make a soldier brave;
‘Tis not allegiance to the flag that over him may wave;
For soldiers never fight so well on land or on the foam
As when behind the cause they see the little place called home.
Endanger but that humble street whereon his children run,
You make a soldier of the man who never bore a gun.”

 

Read the full poem here.

 

The Battlefield — Emily Dickinson

Dickinson’s poem reminds us that God will never forget the sacrifices and brave actions of those who died in service toward their country.

 

“They dropped like flakes, they dropped like stars,
Like petals from a rose,
When suddenly across the June
A wind with finger goes.

 

They perished in the seamless grass, —
No eye could find the place;
But God on his repealless list
Can summon every face.”

 

Memorial Day — Joyce Kilmer

Kilmer was a poet and a soldier who served and died in WWI. His poem Memorial Day is a beautiful tribute to soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

 

“Above their wreath-strewn graves we kneel,
They kept the faith and fought the fight.
Through flying lead and crimson steel
They plunged for Freedom and the Right.

 

May we, their grateful children, learn
Their strength, who lie beneath this sod,
Who went through fire and death to earn
At last the accolade of God.

 

In shining rank on rank arrayed
They march, the legions of the Lord;
He is their Captain unafraid,
The Prince of Peace … Who brought a sword.”

 

Read the full poem here.

 

How will your funeral home celebrate Memorial Day this year? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Want military-themed stationery to honor veterans and their families this Memorial Day? Tribute Center has several military themes to choose from, and it’s free to download. Give us a call at 866-372-9372 to learn more about Tribute Center’s other capabilities.