A DAY IN MAY
It was a perfect day.
The sun was shining
and a slight breeze fluttered the spring
green leaves and buds awakening on the trees.
We had made the 6 hour trip from our home
in Pittsburgh to Doylestown
to visit friends whose daughter was making
her First Holy Communion.
The church was located in a rural setting
not what I’m accustomed to
from living in a big city.
The lector at the church gave instructions
as to what would be taking place before,
during and after the Mass and that
was an excellent idea because there were at
least 70 children receiving communion along
with their families and friends.
One comment the lector made had me
wondering what was
about to transpire after this Mass.
We were told to exit the parking lots
quickly because the governor was coming
for an afternoon service.
Little did I know then that those glib
words would invoke in every American
there that day a feeling of remorse
The children were so happy as they exited
the church after having received their
First Holy Communion to have some pictures
taken in the prayer garden
I looked around and saw Marines and other
military people approaching the church and
they were starting to put up wooden horses
to block off the surrounding streets
While I waited for the pictures to be taken
I overheard a conversation about a Marine
who had been killed by a sniper in Iraq and
how this service was going to honor him
and that just a few weeks prior another soldier from
this same town had been killed by a roadside bomb
Both were 26-years-old and athletes in school
and both had a zeal to serve their country
Immediately sorrow replaced my joy
I had seen clips of other servicemen’s
funerals on the news but never did I
think I would be a witness to one
How sad for everyone and the tone
of the day had shifted
Yes, in spite of everything
there is a war going on and the world
just keeps moving along
What a contrast to see and hear
the happy children and then to witness
the funeral of a fallen American hero
My hopes and prayers are that these
children will never, ever have to
go to war and never be laid to rest
on a sunny day in May.
©Copyright May 10, 2007 by Janet Rattay
Author’s Note: I wrote this poem from an experience I had over the weekend [of May 5-6, 2007], and I am still not feeling myself.
Submitted for the May 2007 IWVPA Club Theme Project, “Glib”