Memorial Day Observance

In the blissful ignorance of the safety which the sacrifices of our fallen have provided us, the sheep say they “celebrate” Memorial Day, as if it was just another three day weekend. The sheepdogs who have been on the other side of the wall and have faced the wolf, and those who know and love them, know that more properly we “observe” Memorial Day. The warrior will toast the empty chair with a solemnity and an understanding that only he can truly appreciate. Those who love, support, and appreciate the warrior will also pay tribute in their own particular way.

Warriors have been known to be quite eloquent and have penned some truly moving prose. One such piece was given to Maj. Gene Duncan USMC several years ago. A young Lance Corporal approached him after having read one of Maj. Duncan’s books and pulled out his wallet. From that wallet he produced a well worn scrap of paper which he gave to Maj. Duncan. The L/Cpl explained that he had come across it several years before, so long that he had forgotten where, when and how, and that he had carried it with him ever since. The paper showed severe creases from having been folded and unfolded many, many times over the years. Now he wanted Maj. Duncan to have it. Handwritten by an anonymous author on that paper was the following poem, which Maj. Duncan thankfully saw fit to print and share with his readers;


Unknown USMC


The chaplain wore no helmet,

his head was bowed in prayer.

his face was seamed with sorrow,

but a trace of hope was there.


Our ranks were hushed and silent,

and diminished by our loss.

At our feet, the rows of crosses

told how much a battle cost.


Rows of neat, white wooden crosses

and Stars of David too,

marked the grave sites of our brothers

whose fighting days were through.


Friends of mine were lying there;

Ski, and Ace, and Slim,

Bo, and Jack, Bill and Joe,

Dusty, Tex, and Jim.

Each had a simple marker,

but the closest one to me

was a plain white wooden headboard

marked “Unknown USMC”.


In this final camp of comrades

it was somehow strange and odd,

that a man should lie among them

known to none except his God.


Who can he be, I wondered.

Was he white or black or red?

This man who shares a resting place

with our loved and honored dead.


He cannot be a stranger

but a friend whose lonely track

has brought him here among us.

I think I’ll call him Mac.


Mac is a name we often use,

and it’s been used on me.

Far better than the epitaph,

“Unknown USMC”.


So many times I heard it

in the blackness of the night.

Through the swirling mist of combat,

with a battle at its height.

“Hey Mac” a voice would call,

“We could use some help out here.

I’ve got a man that’s wounded.

Can you get him to the rear?”


“Hey Mac, I’m really burning up.

The suns so blazing hot-

Could you spare a drop of water?

Gee thanks Mac, thanks a lot.”


The day when I was wounded,

hurt and lying in the snow,

a cigarette offered to me

by a man I didn’t know.


He quickly stopped the bleeding

and rolled me on my back,

grinned and gripped his rifle,

and said, “Take it easy Mac”.


A simple word. A simple name.

But still it proves to me,

that no man ever really is

“Unknown USMC”.


The chaplain’s prayer is finished,

our colors gently dip,

the rifle squad is ready;

the bugler wets his lips.


With blurry eye and saddened heart

I hear the rifles crack.

Taps floats softly on the air

–         I say goodbye to Mac.


Have a safe and blessed Memorial Day Weekend, and remember the reason why you can.


  1. 1
    Emperor Misha I growls and barks:

    So very true, so very beautiful. :em04:

  2. 2
    SoCalOilMan, K.o.E. growls and barks:

    A fitting post for the day.

    I have had so many people asking “What are you doing this weekend?” I tell them I get up and put my flag out and spend some time remembering and honoring those who gave all they had to let me enjoy this day off. That is not what they wanted to hear.


  3. 3
    lc purple raider growls and barks:

    To all the Macs out there, Thank You.

    And I am honored to know some Macs.

    Semper Fi.

  4. 4

    Two things …

    1. I’m awed by your oratory and kind of speechless at the moment ..

    2. Who set off the damn tear gas?


  5. 5

    Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. — John 15:13

  6. 6
    LC HJ Caveman82952 growls and barks:

    People have asked what I am doing this weekend…in truth I work Monday….but I am going to send them your poem, Crunchie, and nothing else. For it says it all. And yes, time to fly the colors too……..remembering better men than I……………… :em04:

  7. 7

    Thank you, my brother. Semper Fi.

  8. 8
    Emperor Misha I growls and barks:

    I just found out, through the wonders of the Internets, that one of my old buddies, the best MSG I ever had the pleasure to serve with, got it from a Taliswine splodeydope three years ago in the ‘Stan in some filthy puslim shithole called Gerehsk, one squalid latrine in a useless, filthy “country” that would have been nuked wholesale on September 12, 2001 if this country had still had leaders with nads larger than those of crab lice.

    Sometimes I find myself wishing that the Internets didn’t exist. Sometimes ignorance really is bliss.

    He left behind a wife and three daughters.

    He was a soldier’s soldier. Professional all the way, the kind of guy you’d want around when the shit hit the fan, rock solid no matter what and, at the same time, one of the guys. Somebody who gave a shit. A perfect proof of the fact that the backbone of any army is made up of chevrons. And he was skilled as all Hell, to the point where he ended up as an instructor at Combat School but, rather than just enjoying the comforts and safeties of such a billet, he shipped out to do his bit. Because that’s the kind of guy that he was.

    And he did his bit and then some. I’m glad that I had a chance to down a few with him, but I wish to Hell that I could have looked forward to downing a few more.

    Instead, I’ll down a few in his honor and to his memory today.

    I hate you, you fucking pisslamic animals, I hate you in the coldest, most unforgiving, visceral way, and no matter how many of you die in preferably horrible ways, it will never make up for what you took from this world.

    But I’ll be sure to keep score anyway, and I’ll rejoice every single time another one of you is turned into pink mist, bloody gore and crisp, well-done remains.

    A billion of you ain’t worth one of him, but it will at least make the air cleaner.

    See you in Valhalla, Sonny.