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Published:May 27th, 2008 05:12 EST


By Ed Roberts

They gather in silence
Rows of men and women
Some in wheelchairs
Others with their walkers
Old and young
Standing shoulder to shoulder
Some broken
By time
And circumstance
Each with their own story to tell



Donald served with Patton
Drove his jeep
Across most of Europe



Jessie was at Pearl Harbor
Watched the first planes fly over
Lost his leg later that day



Michael served in Korea
Was shot five times
Before they finally sent him home
He said that he’d go back tomorrow
But at 72
I doubt there is much of a chance



Mary went to Vietnam
As a nurse
Was shot in the hip by a sniper
She stayed for hours with the injured
Before she finally got help for herself



Bill was injured in Desert Storm
The first one
At 34
He stands out amongst his elders
A reminder to us all
War does not discriminate
When it comes to its victims
He too would serve tomorrow
If he only had his legs



Before these heroes
Young men in uniform present the colors
We all share a pledge
Whose words were paid for
By these and so many others



Seven men march to the center of a field
Raise their rifles
And fire to the heavens
Three times each
Twenty-one shells in all
Fall to the grass at their feet


Names are read of the fallen
A bell tolls for each one
The list goes on as everyone listens
A father or brother
Some just another man’s friend


A special name


They each hope to hear



After the last name is read
Taps echoes across the pavilion
Men who stood in the face of horror
Try to wipe away their tears
Before others notice



With a short prayer
The ceremony is over
Just another Monday for so many
A day to kick off their summer



For me
A Memorial Day
I will always remember
For on this day
I rang the bell for my Father
And this simple chime
Rings in me still



I walk away slowly


With an empty shell casing in my pocket


Held closely


To my heart



Ed Roberts 5/29/06


Taken from Whispers, Tears, Prayers, and Hope

To be released later this year



It has been two years since I rang that bell for my father.

In my heart, the bell tolls still.