Florida Guard Team,
“The muffled drum’s sad roll has beat
The soldier’s last tattoo;
No more on Life’s parade shall meet
That brave and fallen few.
On Fame’s eternal camping-ground
Their silent tents are spread,
And Glory guards, with solemn round
The bivouac of the dead.”
In 1847 poet and U.S. Army Officer Theodore O’Hara penned those verses in memory of Kentucky soldiers killed in the Mexican War. The stanzas – from his poem “Bivouac of the Dead” – are inscribed on tablets in some National Cemeteries throughout the nation.
Although more than 160 years have passed since those haunting and eloquent words were written, they are as appropriate today as they ever were. In 2015 they are a gentle and poignant reminder to reflect on the legacy of thousands of heroes in uniform – to include Florida National Guardsmen – who gave everything in service to our nation.
On Memorial Day 2015, I urge each Floridian to pause and reflect on the “brave and fallen few.” Ask yourself: “Where would we be today as a nation, as a people, as a community, without those sacrifices of our men and women in uniform?” If you visit a cemetery or attend a Memorial Day event, silently thank our fallen comrades for their service to our nation. Whether they charged into enemy fire at Gettysburg, stormed the beaches of Normandy, or stood their ground in the streets of Baghdad…they have given everything, and deserve our eternal gratitude.
For a list of the 2015 Memorial Day events please visit the Florida Guard Online at http://www.fl.ng.mil/291194
MICHAEL A. CALHOUN
Florida National Guard
The Adjutant General