The Silver Stripes By Edgar Albert Guest

The Silver Stripes

When we’ve honored the heroes returning from France,
When we’ve mourned for the heroes who fell,
When we’ve done all we can for the home-coming man,
Who stood to the shot and the shell,
Let us all keep in mind those who lingered behind—
The thousands who waited to go—
The brave and the true who did all they could do,
Yet have only the silver to show.

They went from their homes at the summons for men,
They drilled in the heat of the sun,
They fell into line with a pluck that was fine;
Each cheerfully shouldered a gun;
They were ready to die for Old Glory on high,
They were eager to meet with the foe;
They were just like the rest of our bravest and best,
Though they’ve only the silver to show.

Their bodies stayed here, but their spirits were there;
And the men, who looked death in the face
For the cause, had no fear, for they knew waiting here,
There were many to fill up each place.
Oh, the ships came and went till the battle was spent,
And the tyrant went down with the blow!
Yet he still might have reigned, but for those who remained
And have only the silver to show.

So here’s to the soldiers who never saw France,
And here’s to the boys unafraid!
Let us give them their due; they were glorious, too,
And it isn’t their fault that they stayed,
They were eager to share in the sacrifice there;
Let them share in the peace that we know.
For we know they were brave by the service they gave,
Though they’ve only the silver to show.

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