To a Fallen Marine

— Doug Nelson

Mom and Dad, weep for me.
For the drooping bouquet of flowers I brought you when I was little,
for the times I sought comfort in your arms when I was scared,
for the perfect throw to first base,
for the dropped infield fly.

I know that my mother turned to my father in the night,
Saying, please don’t let anything happen to my little boy.
I know that my father made pledges he had no way to keep.

I knew their love.
Every day of my life.

My darling wife, weep for me. For I knew your love.
It was always you with whom I wanted eternity,
with whom I wanted children of our own,
wiping noses, carrying them on my shoulders when they are tired.

Marines,
with whom I shared danger, hardship and mirth,
I thank you for your friendship, for your help.
I tried to keep you safe so that you could go home whole.
I love others who have always loved me,
but none more than you, my brothers.

My countrymen, my fellow Americans,
I chose freely to serve you in this way. I was proud to serve, glad to wear the uniform.
Did I die for anyone’s freedom, in the defense of my country and loved ones?
Ask yourselves when you look into the faces of those I loved.
Go and act as their eyes tell you.

I am part of you
from you
of you.

Am, not was,
For I live
in you.


I wrote this after a mother of a Marine spent Mother’s Day 2006 by her son’s side in an Army hospital in Germany, as he drew his last breath. His lungs were seared when his truck hit an explosive device.

His funeral service was in the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. My poem was printed in the program.

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