Seems to me Veterans Day is becoming like Labor Day - just another day off with little thought given to its meaning, which was to mark Nov. 11, 1918 when World War I ended.
The holiday should remind us that there was a time when people felt there could be a "war to end all war," which would be honor enough for all veterans.
I feel so strongly about this that I wrote a poem dedicated to the many poets who died in World War I. The title is a play on words on the honored history book, "The Guns of August."
The Poets of August
James O. Clifford, Sr.
"The Guns of August," the history teacher said.
That's the place to begin.
The book captures the heart of at least the start
of a war no one could win.
The prof lied.
Too many died for prose to do.
To really hear the beating heart
"The Poets of August" is the best place to start.
Don't bother to look.
There's no such book on the poets killed in the war.
Many, oh so many, whose pens will rhyme no more.
For now, a poem will do.
A poem written by a fool like me.
Only God could make Joyce Kilmer,
no matter what the scholars think of "Trees."
Kilmer died late. Killed by hate
so vicious no one thought we'd see its likes again.
He joined a long line of men: Brooke, Seeger, McCrae,
Sorley, Thomas, Rosenberg and Owen,
who said it best in "Dulce et Decorum Est."
Today, even Ph.D.s don't know what to say
when asked what WWI was called before WWII.
The World War, the Great War is the best they can do.
The poets knew.
It was the War to End All War.
Too bad it wasn't true.
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