White Shadows

Tom Despard

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The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial.

White shadows, rows of crosses, David’s stars,
Marble markers from another of history’s scars.
Sleeping soldiers, only one score years of life seen,
Each a legend under this blanket of manicured green.

White shadows, scroll of heroes, ordered memory
Of freedom’s honored dead felled by hell’s armory,
Of D–Day’s June 6, ’44 fury, of landing beaches’ blood,
Of waves of brave warriors rising like a flood.

White shadows, statues of dignity, we fix attention,
Stooped by solemnity, full of respect and admiration.
We softly weep and wonder why they had to die.
We stare, breathe deeply, and painfully sigh.

White shadows, shepherd staffs, angels tend to you.
Their caring spirit surrounds like a sweet misty dew.
American, French, allied comrades rest in this place
Having advanced to this cemetery of peaceful grace.

White shadows, eerie ghosts, “grim reaper’s” witness.
Broken world! Light from silhouettes in the darkness!
The supreme sacrifice is what impresses so well.
Faith surely leaps from the clarion ring of liberty’s bell.

White shadows, as if each on a steeple, souls released
To glory above where war and wounds have ceased.
Music and song mark the day with rapt ceremony,
As flowers and flags celebrate Good’s vaulted victory.

O Normandy! White shadows, stars and crosses.
We are the gainers from these lasting losses.