Sammy Bernstein reminds me of the importance of Memorial Day in one of the most touching and true poems I’ve ever read about war, this poem came from a letter he wrote to his parents during the Battle of Iwo Jima, written during a battle Sammy never thought he’d make home alive.
March 7th, 1945 on Iwo Jima
Oh, I just saw a sight to see,
A sight that will always live in me,
And there they were, row on row,
The graves of boy who gave their all,
Here a cross and there a star,
Try to see it, ‘cause there they are,
A Catholic, Protestant, and a Jew,
All American boys we once knew.
And though you read, “so many thousand dead”
You know not what you really read
‘Cause only those who see their graves
Will ever know and be amazed.
So to the ones who must receive
A notice that they’ve been bereaved
The boys who died for four great rights,
We alive, for all time, must keep them bright.
And when it’s over, God make it soon,
Let’s not forget or we’re doomed,
That war is hell and pray we must
To keep the peace they gave to us.
Private First Class
U.S. Marine Corps
Fifth Marine Division
At scene of Fifth Marine Division Cemetery
Thank you, Sammy, for your service and also for penning your thoughts and hoping for peace.