Poem: At the Tombs of the Unknown

poetry by US veterans
Kathy Rehm, U.S. veteran and poet

At the Tombs of the Unknowns
by Kathleen Rehm

These words are carved in the marble stone
“Here Rests
In Honored Glory
An American Soldier
Known but to God”

Not far from Arlington’s Cemetery Gate
By your fellow soldiers you lie in state
From a century of wars, you came to rest in this place
Guarded by your fellow soldiers, in stately grace
By your sacrifices a later generation would yell
“Hell no we won’t go”
But you went
Into the trenches and muck of Verdon
On to Omaha Beach, landing at Anzio
Into the bitter winter of the “Frozen Chosen”
Crawling through the jungles of the Tet Offensive
Danny Boy the pipes are calling… But
You did not come ye back
But there was no hurrah
Your Tomb of the Unknowns is sacred ground
Where our nation’s honor can still be found.

In 1972 I was stationed at Vint Hill Farms in Virginia, one weekend some of us enlisted women drove to Washington D.C. to see the sights. We were at Arlington National Cemetery in time to see the Changing the Guard at the Tomb of The Unknown Soldiers. The image of the white glove silent inspection has stayed with me all these years.
     – Kathleen Rehm, United States Army 1971-1980