By JACK BELL
Soldier, sailor, marine, Buddies all!
The grand old men of the Grand Army, GOd bless 'em.
"The Vacant Chair," they all remember;
the swamps, jungle fevers, bolos, rattling land crabs,
"A Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight," of the graying, thinning ranks of the Spanish War men;
the Buddies of the Big Show, who are already answering their last assembly by companies; mothers, wives and sweethearts, the sobs and
heartaches for those who have passed; the unashamed tears that will come to veterans of all wars, when the crash of the three
volleys blaze from rifle muzzles and as the smoke leaves the guns, comes the mournfully, plaintive, sweet vibrant soul-reaching tones of the bugle
carrying the message of remembrance - Taps, into GOd's keeping until we all meet again.
Where the flowers grow and rest upon the wraiths of those who lie under the living green.
Yes, Buddie, there is some one you think about on Decoration day, isn't there?
When you think of him or them, there is a tightening of your throat, that's true.
You are sad, you kind of choke up, and gaze with unseeing eyes back into awful days, and little details become vivid.
You heard his last message to his loved ones, maybe.
His few trinkets you turned over for shipment, knowing the soul-searing grief that would be caused by his never returning.
Soon, perhaps, there will be some of us joining this silent army.
There are none of us that would care to think of "going West" without some one to mourn a bit for us, would we? Or to have
three volleys and Taps and upon Decoration day fragrant flowers strewn over us - just a remembrance that we had done our best - soldiers, sailors, marines.
Isn't it meet and right that we get into the old uniform, or if we haven't one, to turn out and join the parade on Memorial day?
This hour will not be missed, and as we grow older, it seems obligatory, this honor to the dead.