The Old Guard at Arlington
the Old Post Chapel walls,
I heard the guards assemble one by one,
Saluting a soldier whose memories in spirit had appeared in their eyes,
Gleaming from within.
Quiet thoughts of his life streamed onto window tile,
While hymns on organ played from angel wings in mourning.
my head towards outside shadows,
Silhouettes of faces unfolded the flag of red, white, and blue,
Unfurling the cloth upon the soldier from head to toe,
Brother to brother, draping him with America's colors.
guards lifted the body into their gentle hands,
Joined in grip and interlocking grace,
The spirit inside put to ease, now a part of their face.
They walked in perfect step upon chapel's marbled floor,
Placing the casket near the altar, for all to remember, and all to mourn.
took the soldier, mounted him on caisson,
The chaplain took the lead,
Marching down pathway's road,
Listening to a drummer's voice in restful peace.
behind horse's hooves,
Keeping pace with stirrups that held backward boots,
As the band turned a narrow corner, in retreat,
A crescendo of leaves in fall, felt under my feet.
beyond, white crosses aligned in V's, row after row,
Mile after mile, flowers abloom, trees in full color,
People stopped, placing hands over their hearts,
Convincing me that this place is from a higher ground,
A celebration of God's own creation.
with love, in patriotic honor,
A place for soldiers of allegiance, to rest for an eternity.
Guarding all men and women who
Who fought for our peace,
Keeping our love for truth and freedom,
Alive and forever ringing.
You For Guarding the Best,
Betsy Evans Holzner, In Honor of Her Father, Colonel Henry Cotheal Evans, Jr.
November 11, 2006