gravestone stands in Virginia's hills,
the trees, by grass and rills,
there is nothing in that damp dark hole,
perhaps Willie Glenn's soul.
died as a fighting man.
men fought, and a few men ran.
fought and stood his ground,
returned their fire, round by round.
is not hard to write a poem,
a man who loved his home.
all else, Willie tried,
defend this land, until he died.
loved his home, his friends, his Flag,
tricolor one, they burn as a rag.
red in that Flag, could be Willie's blood.
blue for the tears, that would come as a flood,
he to know how they treat that Banner,
desecration they use, of every manner.
Flag has bars of the purest white,
stars that shine from the blue like the night.
have fought while it waved on high
more were to fight and die,
now on the pole is an empty space.
thy pulled it down in foul disgrace.
courts have ruled it stands for naught,
why Dear God have so many men fought?
only a symbol!" the courts have said...
why in God's name are so many dead?
Willie fought and Willie tried,
Flag stands for the cause, for which Willie died!
soul lies in an empty grave.
thousands more who were just as brave.
was a gunner in a fine Tank Crew,
battle they used every trick they knew,
an "A-T" gun turned the Tank to trash,
all we found was a little ash.
Supreme Court sits on the highest bench,
they rule on a law with a rather foul stench.
the Marines raised our flag on that small isle,
court must look back on them with a smile.
they sit in their rooms, all leather bound,
maybe pass the bottle round.
they vote on silly laws,
many laughs and loud guffaws.
complain that people lack respect.
in the World can they expect?
they tell the children in our schools,
against burning th flag, there are no rules!
their windows closed and shuttered tight,
they cannot tell a wrong from right?
are not elected, so one could say,
DO THINGS IN THEIR OWN DAMN WAY!"
might think I rant and rave,
across the Potomac lies Willie's grave.
they'd open a window and look out at the knoll,
might see the grave with Willie's soul!
soul is longing to be free,
it waits on earth for you and me,
that Flag again waves on high,
men doff their hats and women cry!
Willie been born at a different time,
would have been easy to pen this rhyme,
Willie with Southern Gallantry,
have stood beside the sword of Lee.
Lee's sword flashed in Virginia's air,
Glenn Beckner would have been there.
any cause that he thought was just,
felt that fight he must,
the Confederate Flag was not the one,
which Willie died in the German sun.
Arlington where Willie's soul lies
home is framed by Virginia's skies.
soul lies in his homeland's sod,
would like to move up and join his God.
unlock those windows, no need to cry.
put that Flag back up on high,
Willie's soul can leave that grave,
join the others whose lives they gave,
watch "OLD GLORY" flash in the sun,
a tribute to each gallant son!
Glenn Beckner of Roanoke Virginia, was killed instantly on the 28th day
of March 1945. He was the gunner in my Tank, which was the first Medium
Tank in Simpson's Ninth Arny to cross the Rhine. God allowed me to escape.
Willie has a Memorial Headstone in Arlington National Cemetery. There were
no remains of Willie Glenn or "Butch" as he was called, due to his diminutive
Due to his Mother's instructions to her God
he was cremated. This God did with the aid of the Tank which burned, and
smoldered for two days. On "Butch's" stone is carved "SILVER STAR", at
that time the third highest medal. On the back of the medal is inscribed
"FOR GALLANTRY IN ACTION", The very words GALLANTRY and VIRGINIAN must
surely be synonomous.
Soon all memories of Willie Glenn will be relegated
to oblivion! I will always wonder if Roanoke remembers Willie Glenn
or his Mother, Leora, who spent fifty-one years wondering what her only
child might have done in life or what he might have achieved!
His Mother (aged 96) still lives in Roanoke,
Virginia (note she died on 5 August 1992 in West Virginia). in the Shenandoah
Valley, under the shadows of Willie's beloved BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAINS. Soon
all memories of the gallant fighting man will be relegated to oblivion!
His stone is very near my wife's. Standing at her grave you can look down
the hill at it. I imagine they are taking care of each other. He will be
20 years of age forever! Dick Kemp
Michael Robert Patterson
3 October 1995 Updated: 13 October 2009