They are the "Silent Sentries", they cannot march or walk,
But oh the stories they would tell if they could only talk.
Their poignant message far transcends eloquence of the human tongue.
Their message whispers through time and space, the saddest anthem ever sung.
Yet it is poignant, eloquent and powerful, beyond ANY speech that's ever been spoken.
It speaks of a GREAT GENERATION --, freedom ---, self sacrifice ---, blood shed ---, UN-COMMON valor ----, love of country,
----, fear ----, indescribable suffering ---, loneliness ----, and millions of hearts shattered and broken.
These Sentries would talk of a Great Depression-, bank closings--, financial ruin -, and the loss of hope all over the
They'd talk of the homeless, the destitute, the poverty stricken-, starving children--, tattered clothes--, suicide and
They'd talk about heroic Americans --, who survived --, the loss of homes, family farms, and the loss of hope and incentive
Yes they would talk of America's heartbreak too awesome and painful for mortals to tell.
These Silent Sentries would talk of "soup lines" --, hobo jungles --, polio epidemics --, iron lungs--, the Dust Bowl --,
the grim desperation that went with each day.
They'd talk about back breaking toil --, starvation wage --, the C.C.C. and the W.P.A.
But the demons of evil had only begun, the tentacles of hatred --, and greed --, were reaching for more!
In Europe --, and Asia evil was marching, tyranny was forcing the world into war!
Then these sentries would speak of that time and that place, December the 7th, 1941,
Pearl Harbor, The Day Of Infamy, a sneak attack ---, on our nation at peace -----, by the naval forces of The Rising Sun!
Pummeled and ravaged by a decade of depression --, now a sneak attack on America's shores,
Had forced the struggling "back bone" of America into the Hell of ALL OUT WAR!
When the enemy retreated --, destruction and carnage --, was left in their wake ---, on "Battleship Row" ---, the Arizona
She went to the bottom with much of her crew, martyrs for freedom forever entombed.
The USS Oklahoma was sunk --, but would be resurrected -, and she'd gallantly sail into battle once more,
With her valiant crew she served her nation in the Hellish carnage of all out war.
But on this nightmarish" Date Of Infamy" --, her sister ships were damaged or sinking--, some were now just smoldering
But soldiers, sailors and Leathernecks, ---, many wounded and burned -, were shooting back ---, from the gun turrets on
bomb damaged decks.
Soldiers and airmen manned their guns --, and their planes, some would be killed by Japanese "flak",
At Hickam and Wheeler ----, hangers and planes --, were smoking ruins ---, helpless to launch a counter attack.
When the enemy headed back out to sea, everyone wondered, "are they coming back?
But the "Sleeping Giant" of America's spirit had been aroused by this cowardly deed.
There'd be no surrender, compromise or retreat--, "remember Pearl harbor" ----, was the call to arms --, America's "battle
cry", her code and her creed!
As America was forced into WWII, The Free World wondered if it would survive,
That question was "answered" a blood bath later", in May and August, 1945.
The bombs and guns of WWII have long been silent but the legacy lives,
Of the heroes and heroines, many unsung, who gave everything that they had to give.
Their legacy is shared by those who survived the carnage and death by "the luck of the draw",
Many crippled and maimed ---, others still haunted ---, and broken in spirit----, by the terrible carnage they experienced
Though unable to speak The Silent Sentries --, "testify" with more force ---, than speeches -----, and ceremonies ---,
could ever convey.
As they mourn the cost in suffering and heartbreak, as the brave and the good held the tyrants at bay.
They salute not only the warriors who fell and who now rest beneath Hallowed sod,
But ALL of the victims and casualties of war, their lifelong heartbreak seen only by God.
The widows and orphans ----, the mothers and dads ---, the brothers and sisters mourning the loss of loved ones to war.
Lost at sea ---, in an island jungle ---, an exploding bomber or fighter ---, a burning tank ----, or assaulting a bunker
on an enemy shore.
Yes their silence tells of heartbreak and valor, as they stand their watch o'er these Hallowed Sites.
The resting place of heroes and heroines, through sun and storm, through days and nights.
They'd talk of the ways that heroes have died, from the land and the sea to "12 O’clock High",
And they'd talk of the courage --, and the agony ---, of those who tried to "repair battle damage" --, the medics --, the
corpsmen---, the surgeons --, and why combat nurses learn not to cry.
These Granite Markers and Silent White Crosses, poignant, silent, eternal, serene,
Guard the graves of fallen Airmen -----, Soldiers -----, Sailors --, Merchant Seamen ---, Coast Guardsmen and Marines.
And they also remind us of heroes who vanished, blown to bits, butchered and torn,
All that remained are bittersweet memories, there was nothing left for their loved ones to mourn.
And they'd talk about the Missing In Action and the hero sailors "buried at sea",
Destined to "rest in peace" in the depths and never return to the land of the free.
Yes they would tell a million stories if only they had the tongues to speak,
Of exploding bombers -, blood drenched beaches -, deadly jungles-, and "The Battle Of The Bulge", frigid and bleak.
Though these Silent Sentries are "speechless" and mum, though they're immobile, quiet and still,
Their message thunders like the boom of artillery across jungles and swamps —, ocean depths, blood soaked beaches----,
, paddies, valleys and hills.
They tell about the fighter pilots, the soldiers, the Leathernecks and of the hero sailors "buried" at sea.
Heroes who died around the world to keep America the land of the free.
They'd tell us of the Hell of war ---, Pearl Harbor--, Wake Island ---, Guam ---, Ploesti --, "The Bulge"----, Iwo Jima
- ---, Guadalcanal ----, Anzio ----, Normandy ---, Midway--,
"The Turkey Shoot"-, and countless other battle sites,
They'd talk about the moms and dads ----, wives and sweethearts ---, sons and daughters ----, brothers and sisters ---,
friends and family ----, waiting in torment day and night.
They'd talk about the Kamikaze’s, burning carriers ---, dying sailors, battle ships --, destroyers ---, submarines
– -, burning tanks or A. P. C's
Or slogging through the mud and snow ----, or blown to bits in an L. V. T.
Or going down in a merchant ship, a tanker or a freighter,
Or on mission behind the lines and "compromised" by "turn coat" traitors.
They'd tell us many poignant stories ---, of unsung heroines --, like the combat nurses ---, and the WASPS ---. who ferried
bombers and fighters ---, en-route to all the theaters of war,
Many died performing their mission ---, of saving lives ---, and helping protect America's shores.
They'd talk about Berlin, Tokyo, Bataan and Corigidor in a special way that words never could.
They'd talk of Sicily, Okinawa, the Philippine Islands ----, and Normandy's beaches where hero's stood.
They'd talk about Merseberg ---, Regensburg -, and "Black Thursday" ---, over Schweinfurt ---, when 60 of our bombers were
shot from the sky,
Crews disappeared in a blinding explosion --, others were trapped in their plunging aircraft ---, knowing full well they
were going to die.
And these Sentries would talk of ships like the Hornet --, the Yorktown ---, the Indianapolis ---, The Lexington -, where
America's sons would die with their mates.
And they'd talk about "The Wolf Packs" --, in the frigid North Atlantic --, sinking freighters ---, and hundreds of seamen
left to their fate.
They'd talk about the Medals of Honor, the Purple Hearts, the Silver Stars and Distinguished Flying Crosses,
They'd talk about the "suicide missions" the "weight of command" and the awful losses.
They talk of the "police action" --, in Korea ---, Inchon, Heartbreak Ridge, Pork Chop Hill, the Frozen Chosin ---,
and finally the "truce" in Fifty Three,
The Korean vets "paid their dues" ---, and shed their blood - ---, to protect an ally and KEEP her free!
The Silent Sentries would talk of the echoes of battle --, the screams of wounded or dying men,
Who'd never return home to their families ---, or hold their wives or sweethearts again.
They'd talk of the Hell of Viet Nam, the longest war that Americans have fought.
They'd talk of the tunnels, the punji sticks --, Medi-Vac -, and the horrible suffering that "tyranny" wrought,
They'd talk of the cowards --, the draft dodgers ---, who vented their rage --, by spitting on vets who lived to return,
The heroes who shrugged off the coward's insults ---, as they thought of the draft cards these cowards had burned.
The Sentries would talk of heroic Americans --, who "disappeared" ----, in the blast of a bomb or artillery shell,
If these "Silent Sentries" could only talk these are just some of the stories they'd tell.
And they'd talk of those whose inner "wounds" are never seen by public eye,
But in their nightmares time and again they see their comrades and commanders die.
And they see once more the innocent women and children, caught in the carnage and Hell of war,
In helpless torment their mind replays these nightmare scenes for ever more.
The Silent Sentries would talk of wheel chairs, the mental wards, the hospital beds ------, bodies and minds for ever scarred,
And they'd talk about the forgotten heroes --, on "skid row" --, who sought escape in the bottle ---, a pill or a needle
–, and who never receive a Christmas card.
They'd talk about the flag draped coffins and hero sailors buried at sea,
They'd speak of those who never returned, "Missing in Action" forever they'll be.
And they'd talk about the P. O. W's executed without a trial,
And they'd talk about the pain and torment that's often hidden behind a smile.
They'd talk about the bombed out cities and starving orphans roaming the streets.
They'd talk about the vicious tyrants and the awful cost of their defeat.
They'd talk about the "death camps" --, where millions died - -----, helpless victims of tyrannical hate,
Gas chambers - crematoriums -, Auschwitz -, Buchenwald ---, genocide ----, torture and agony the victim's fate.
Then they'd speak of Civil Liberties --- and human rights --, for each and every person on earth,
And they'd talk of equality --, regardless of heritage ---, color of skin ---, ethnic origin ----, or place of birth.
And they’d talk of the tyranny of extremist religion –, which enslaves the masses in the name of a "god",
And the terrible toll in human suffering suffered by innocents on whom tyranny trods.
They’d talk about the war on terrorism, 911, Afghanistan and Iraq.
They’d talk about the KIA’s, the wounded and crippled -, and the MIA’s who are not coming back.
Then they'd talk about the telegrams and that dreaded knock upon a door,
And of those who hoped it was only a nightmare, but a nightmare that they couldn't ignore.
Then they'd talk of widows ---, dressed in black, folded flags clutched in their hands.
They'd talk about the fatherless children, too young and innocent to understand.
They'd talk about the "Gold Star Parents" whose broken hearts will never mend,
When the guns and bombs fall silent at last, THEIR poignant "war" will NEVER end.
They'd indict the power crazed --, who sacrifice others to satisfy greed,
The lust for power –, and money, is the "mother of tyranny", the "breast" where oppression "suckles and feeds".
And they would remind us ---, that eternal vigilance --, is the requisite for freedom -, that is a truth we mustn't ignore.
And that "dropping our guard" ---, or a tolerance for bullies ---, is ALWAYS the prelude to tyranny –, and war.
They'd remind us that tyranny ----, respects no borders --, or political systems ----, it can come from abroad ---, or
arise within a "nation's own ranks".
"Wolves often attack disguised as a sheep", preceding or replacing the guns and the tanks!
The weapons of tyrants are often "non violent" –, but vicious -, their "courts" an empowering –, and punitive
A "civilized weapon" in the hands of despots , politics and money it’s "propellant and fuel".
Larcenous greed and the lust for power –, knows no boundaries or national borders.
These twin propellant forces of tyranny -, often determine judicial orders.
Hitler posed as a "national savior", his fiery rhetoric and impassioned speeches,
Preceded the spilling of innocent blood --, from the Warsaw ghetto ---, through out Europe --,
the North Atlantic and Normandy's beaches.
Then the blood of the valiant ----, and the innocent ---, was shed --, in the air --, on land --, and on the high seas
for liberty's cause,
To conquer oppression, slavery and torture, born and empowered by tyrannical laws.
And the sternest comment these "Sentries" would give would be the reminder that "freedom's not free",
They would remind the lovers of freedom that tyranny's NOT ALWAYS far over the sea!
They'd refer to the Ones "they guard round the clock" --, as poignant examples ----, that freedom --, is acquired ---,
and preserved --, at the terrible price,
Of blood, valor, awful heartbreak, unspeakable suffering --, and far too often ---, "The SUPREME SACRIFICE!
They'd EMPHASIZE that world wide freedom is kept by heros just such as these,
And NOT by the rich ---, the powerful --, or those in high places ------, who peddle their "principles" -----, or surrender
their honor FOR PROFITS AND FEES !
On Judgment Day when The Creator hears the poignant stories these Sentries will tell,
He'll put their "Charges" at the "head of the line" for they have served THEIR "tenure" in Hell!
Ivan L. Fail