Skip to content

Motivation 2020: Veterans Day Poems & Quotes

11/11/2020
Spread the love
  •  
  •  
  •  
  • 79
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.” John F. Kennedy

Motivation 2020: Veterans Day Poems & Quotes

Motivation 2020: Veterans Day Poems & Quotes

How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes! Maya Angelou
To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory. President Woodrow Wilson
In order to ensure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans’ organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose. Dwight D. Eisenhower
It’s about how we treat our veterans every single day of the year. It’s about making sure they have the care they need and the benefits that they’ve earned when they come home. It’s about serving all of you as well as you’ve served the United States of America. Barack Obama
The theme for Veterans Day 2020 is: “Vision: Veterans in Focus.” All Veterans make a sacrifice to serve their country, whether physically, emotionally, or by being away from their loved ones and missing important life moments.

What does Veterans Day mean to You? Every year, on November 11, we gather to honor and salute all of our brave armed forces; about 18+ million male and female Veterans who served in the United States Armed Forces.  Veterans Day, also known as Remembrance Day or Armistice Day; is a time when we honor those who fought wars so the rest of us could have world peace. As I write this post, in the throes of a global pandemic with Covid-19 numbers rising, our servicemen and women continue to serve on US bases around the world. They are our eyes and ears abroad, ensuring our safety at home.  Even though I’ve shared the genesis of this important tradition in previous posts, it is imperative that we revisit the history of Veterans Day, learn and teach our children about it, and honor all who gave selflessly and fearlessly in service to this country.

On November 11, 1947, Raymond Weeks of Birmingham, Alabama, organized the first Veterans Day parade, (it was called Armistice Day back then), to praise our servicemen and women for their efforts.  Later on, U.S. Representative Edward H. Rees of Kansas proposed legislation for a name change from Armistice Day to Veterans Day. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill in 1954 proclaiming November 11th as Veterans Day, and everyone honored that date until another change occurred fourteen years later. Throughout this post, I have added poems and quotes to help us all connect with the insights and memories of many who lived through wars or had a loved one survive or die in a war.

 

Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen – 1893-1918 via poets.org
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares, we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

Gas! Gas! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime…
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro Patria Mori.

 

A Veteran BY REGINALD GIBBONS via poetryfoundation
My father came down not killed
from among others, killers or killed,
for whom he’d worn a uniform,
and he lived a long afterward,

a steady man on the flattest of plains.
I called after him many times, surprised
when I heard the catch in my own voice.
He didn’t know how to find the solace

of listening to someone else speak of
what he’d seen and survived.
He himself closed his own
mouth against his own words.

In the wrong sequence, his spirit,
then his mind, and last his body
crossed over that infamous, peat-inky,
metaphorical water that has no far shore.

I think he was carried like a leaf
in currents so gentle that a duckling,
had it been alive, could have braved them,
but too strong for a leaf. And saturated

with minerals that steadily replaced
organic cells, the water turned my father,
an ex-soldier, to leaf-delicate stone, inscribed
with the axioms of countless veins.

 

Thanks by Yusef Komunyakaa – 1947- via poets.org
Thanks for the tree
between me & a sniper’s bullet.
I don’t know what made the grass
sway seconds before the Viet Cong
raised his soundless rifle.
Some voice always followed,
telling me which foot
to put down first.
Thanks for deflecting the ricochet
against that anarchy of dusk.
I was back in San Francisco
wrapped up in a woman’s wild colors,
causing some dark bird’s love call
to be shattered by daylight
when my hands reached up
& pulled a branch away
from my face. Thanks
for the vague white flower
that pointed to the gleaming metal
reflecting how it is to be broken
like mist over the grass,
as we played some deadly
game for blind gods.
What made me spot the monarch
writhing on a single thread
tied to a farmer’s gate,
holding the day together
like an unfingered guitar string,
is beyond me. Maybe the hills
grew weary & leaned a little in the heat.
Again, thanks for the dud
hand grenade tossed at my feet
outside Chu Lai. I’m still
falling through its silence.
I don’t know why the intrepid
sun touched the bayonet,
but I know that something
stood among those lost trees
& moved only when I moved.

“Whatever gains are secured, it is loss the veteran remembers most keenly. Only a fool or a fraud sentimentalizes the merciless reality of war.” Senator John McCain

Motivation 2020: Veterans Day Poems & Quotes

Motivation 2020: Veterans Day Poems & Quotes

Once let the black man get upon his person the brass letters, U.S.; let him get an eagle on his button, and a musket on his shoulder and bullets in his pocket, and there is no power on earth which can deny that he has earned the right to citizenship. Frederick Douglass
Veterans know better than anyone else the price of freedom, for they’ve suffered the scars of war. We can offer them no better tribute than to protect what they have won for us. President Ronald Reagan
The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation. President George Washington
Better than honor and glory, and History’s iron pen, Was the thought of duty done and the love of his fellow-men. Richard Watson Gilder
My heroes are those who risk their lives every day to protect our world and make it a better place–police, firefighters, and members of our armed forces. Sidney Sheldon

More on the History of Veterans Day: In 1968, instead of just focusing on the 11th, the date was moved to the fourth Monday in October. Congress soon recognized the historical importance of November 11th and changed it back in 1978. While we are all motivated to act each day to uplift ourselves and others, it takes a unique spirit of sacrifice and service to rise above all our petty wants and needs and serve our country. Every time a serviceman/woman leaves, they take the hearts and love of their family and community with them. Our role is to stay connected with them and ensure that, on their return, their reintegration into society is seamless. We are the beneficiaries of their effort and we must remember to honor them. I’ve shared some poetry and quotes, above and below, that elucidate the challenges and hearts of those who served.

In Flanders Fields by John McCrae – 1872-1918 via poets.org
In Flanders fields, the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

 

Armistice BY SOPHIE JEWETT via poetryfoundation
The water sings along our keel,
The wind falls to a whispering breath;
I look into your eyes and feel
No fear of life or death;
So near is love, so far away
The losing strife of yesterday.

We watch the swallow skim and dip;
Some magic bids the world be still;
Life stands with finger upon lip;
Love hath his gentle will;
Though hearts have bled, and tears have burned,
The river floweth unconcerned.

We pray the fickle flag of truce
Still float deceitfully and fair;
Our eyes must love its sweet abuse;
This hour we will not care,
Though just beyond to-morrow’s gate,
Arrayed and strong, the battle wait.

 

The details for Motivation Mondays are below. Join in! The themes for OCT – NOV 2020 are:

OCT

10/01 – 01 Nigeria Independence, 01 National Poetry Day, 02 World Smile Day
10/04 – 05 World Teacher Day, 10/10 World Mental Health Day
10/11 – 11 International Day of the Girl, 12 Columbus Day, 16 World Food Day, 17 International Day for Eradication of Poverty
10/18 – 21 World Mission Day, 20 World Stats Day, 24 United Nations Day
10/25 – 26 National Pumpkin Day, 31 Halloween
National Breast Cancer Awareness, National Domestic Violence Awareness, National Disability Employment Awareness, National Energy Awareness Month, National Substance Abuse Prevention, National Cybersecurity Awareness

NOV

11/01 – 01 All Saints Day, Daylight Savings Ends, 02 All Soul’s Day, 03 Election Day, 05 Guy Fawkes
11/08 – 08 National STEM Day, 10 Science Day for Peace & Development, 11 Veterans Day, 13 World Kindness Day
11/15 – 15 National Philanthropy Day, 16 20 Universal Children’s Day
11/22 – 25 International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, 26 Thanksgiving Day, 27 Black Friday
11/29 – 30 Cyber Monday
National Diabetes Month, Lung Cancer Awareness Month, National Adoption Month, National Native American Heritage, Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience, National Veterans and Military Families, National Family Caregivers, National American History and Founders Month

 

More Below

“The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated [this ground], far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.” President Abraham Lincoln

Motivation 2020: Veterans Day Poems & Quotes

Motivation 2020: Veterans Day Poems & Quotes

Valor is stability, not of legs and arms, but of courage and the soul. Michel de Montaigne
I saw your sons and your husbands, your brothers, and your sweethearts. I saw how they worked, played, fought, and lived. I saw some of them die. I saw more courage, more good humor in the face of discomfort, more love in an era of hate, and more devotion to duty than could exist under tyranny. Comedian Bob Hope
On this Veterans Day, let us remember the service of our veterans, and let us renew our national promise to fulfill our sacred obligations to our veterans and their families who have sacrificed so much so that we can live free. Dan Lipinski
War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good. We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other’s children. Jimmy Carter

What MOTIVATES some to give their lives in service to their country? When I think of people who join the services, I see it as a very special calling and the ultimate sacrifice and patriotic act. Those who walk the path do so because they truly want to serve even if at risk of their lives. It takes great courage, humility, and a belief in justice. Many do it because they want peace to prevail globally. While some might think it’s ironic to see peace as a goal of war, it is appropriate to encourage all to seek peace on this special day; both inner and outer peace. In remembering those who fought bravely to keep us safe, we must use this opportunity to decide what peace means to us, to determine how we can maintain peace in the world, and then dig deep within for our own personal version of the same.

To a Soldier in Hospital by Winifred M. Letts – 1882-1971 via poets.org
Courage came to you with your boyhood’s grace
Of ardent life and limb.
Each day new dangers steeled you to the test,
To ride, to climb, to swim.
Your hot blood taught you carelessness of death
With every breath.

So when you went to play another game
You could not but be brave:
An Empire’s team, a rougher football field,
The end—perhaps your grave.
What matter? On the winning of a goal
You staked your soul.

Yes, you wore courage as you wore your youth
With carelessness and joy.
But in what Spartan school of discipline
Did you get patience, boy?
How did you learn to bear this long-drawn pain
And not complain?

Restless with throbbing hopes, with thwarted aims,
Impulsive as a colt,
How do you lie here month by weary month
Helpless, and not revolt?
What joy can these monotonous days afford
Here in a ward?

Yet you are merry as the birds in spring,
Or feign the gaiety,
Lest those who dress and tend your wound each day
Should guess the agony.
Lest they should suffer—this the only fear
You let draw near.

Greybeard philosophy has sought in books
And argument this truth,
That man is greater than his pain, but you
Have learnt it in your youth.
You know the wisdom taught by Calvary
At twenty-three.

Death would have found you brave, but braver still
You face each lagging day,
A merry Stoic, patient, chivalrous,
Divinely kind and gay.
You bear your knowledge lightly, graduate
Of unkind Fate.

Careless philosopher, the first to laugh,
The latest to complain.
Unmindful that you teach, you taught me this
In your long fight with pain:
Since God made man so good—here stands my creed—
God’s good indeed.

The Unknown Soldier BY MELVIN B. TOLSON via poetryfoundation
I was a minuteman at Concord Bridge,
I was a frigate-gunner on Lake Erie,
I was a mortarman at Stony Ridge,
I fought at San Juan Hill and Château Thierry,
I braved Corregidor and the Arctic Sea:
The index finger brings democracy.

These States bred freedom in and in my bone—
Old as the new testament of Plymouth Bay.
When the Founding Fathers laid the Cornerstone
And rued the thirteen clocks that would not say
The hour on the hour, I nerved myself with them
Under the noose in the hand of the tyrant’s whim.

I’ve seen the alien ships of destiny
Plow the sea mountains between the hemispheres.
I’ve seen the Gulf Stream of our history
Littered with derelicts of corsair careers.
I’ve heard the watchman cry, “The bars! The bars!”
When midnight held the funeral of stars.

I saw horizontal States grow vertical,
From Plymouth Harbor to the Golden Gate,
Till wedged against skyscapes empyreal
Their glories elbowed the decrees of fate.
These States bred freedom in and in my bone:
I hymn their virtues and their sins atone.

The tares and wheat grow in the self-same field,
The rose and thorn companion on the bush,
The gold and gravel cuddle in the yield,
The oil and grit and dirt together gush.
The Gordian knot to be or not to be
Snares not the free.

My faith props the tomorrows, for I know
The roots of liberty, tough-fibered, feed
On the blood of tyrants and martyrs; the judas blow
Tortures the branches till they twist and bleed;
And yet no Caesar, vitamined on loot,
Can liberty uproot!

I am the Unknown Soldier: I open doors
To the Rights of Man, letters incarnadine.
These shrines of freedom are mine as well as yours;
These ashes of freemen yours as well as mine.
My troubled ghost shall haunt These States, nor cease
Till the global war becomes a global peace.

Any Zen Antics stories via Share
Positive Motivation Tip: Let us honor and cherish all who served so we can live peacefully.

Motivation Mondays: Our series is open to anyone who wishes to share a motivational quote, photo, personal challenge, or a post that encourages others to start the week on an upbeat note.
Basic Instructions: Each week, I will have a motivation word to help us create a response. (See listed words for the months above/below)
Email address: You may email or share your post as a comment and I will add it to the round-up of related posts. email it to: contact(@)mirthandmotivation(.)com
Category tag: – Share your post using Motivation Mondays
Twitter hashtag: – Use this on Twitter #MotvnM
Dedicated Page: There is a dedicated page for Motivation Mondays. It has the same instructions and will include other helpful tools and a link to the round-up
Facebook Page: MotivationOnMondays Join our page and add your post and/or any motivational piece you think will be helpful to others.
Facebook Community: We have a Facebook community forum to compliment the page. It serves as another way to share uplifting posts and thoughts. Please join in and add your voice.
Badge: – I created a fun badge using PicMonkey’s free photo editing tools. You can create your own, use WordPress’ integrated tool on your blog or you are welcome to use mine. (see dedicated page)
Tag: – Motivation Mondays
Hashtag: – #MotvnM

 

Related Posts

 

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos –  Veterans Day via Pixabay, Vet Day Posters via VA.gov More AND/OR  WIKIPEDIA

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

28 Comments leave one →
  1. Matt permalink
    12/11/2020 6:11 am

    Veterans day is such a wonderful day to remember all those who served. My father served many years ago. Great list of poems, the Unknown soldier is probably my favorite. Reminds me of the Tomb of the Unknown soldier.

    • Eliz@MirthandMotivation permalink*
      13/11/2020 6:53 am

      Same here and I remember

  2. kileen permalink
    12/11/2020 6:42 am

    These are some really wonderful poems and quotes to celebrate our Veterans! We owe them so much!

    • Eliz@MirthandMotivation permalink*
      13/11/2020 6:53 am

      Glad you like them

  3. Mary permalink
    12/11/2020 6:51 am

    These are some great poems honoring our veterans. Thank you for posting in honor of them.

    • Eliz@MirthandMotivation permalink*
      13/11/2020 6:52 am

      Thank you!

  4. marjiemare permalink
    12/11/2020 7:50 am

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful post on Veteran’s Day. I cannot express my gratitude enough to all those who selflessly put their lives at risk for us. I love all the poems as usual.

    • Eliz@MirthandMotivation permalink*
      13/11/2020 6:52 am

      My gratitude too

  5. Roshanna21 permalink
    12/11/2020 8:28 am

    I think persons who serve their country are courageous, they deserve the utmost respect and honor, these poems were so insightful.

    • Eliz@MirthandMotivation permalink*
      13/11/2020 6:52 am

      I agree… very courageous

  6. veraida permalink
    12/11/2020 10:32 am

    Sad poetry but beautiful. I love this. Great expression to honoring our heroes.

    • Eliz@MirthandMotivation permalink*
      13/11/2020 6:51 am

      Thank you, they made the ultimate sacrifice

  7. Krista permalink
    12/11/2020 12:01 pm

    Such an important day today. I love all of the quotes you’ve added to this post, thanks for sharing them!

    • Eliz@MirthandMotivation permalink*
      13/11/2020 6:51 am

      Appreciate the feedback

  8. Michele @ ourredonkulouslife permalink
    12/11/2020 12:21 pm

    There is no amount of praise and gratitude that could express the love I have for those who have served our country.

    • Eliz@MirthandMotivation permalink*
      13/11/2020 6:51 am

      Exactly. They have done so much

  9. Ntensibe Edgar permalink
    12/11/2020 11:28 pm

    Nnniiiccceeeee….there is sacrifice than what veterans give! For that matter, I dedicate, “The Unknown Soldier BY MELVIN B. TOLSON” to all vets, their family and friends to reflect upon. Thank you, vet, for your service and sacrifice!

    • Eliz@MirthandMotivation permalink*
      13/11/2020 6:12 am

      I second that opinion

  10. Lyosha Varezhkina permalink
    13/11/2020 12:09 am

    I am always fascinated by love and tenderness towards veterans in US. I love the poems and the tradition in whle

    • Eliz@MirthandMotivation permalink*
      13/11/2020 6:12 am

      I appreciate your feedback

  11. Christian Foremost permalink
    13/11/2020 12:38 am

    We don’t have veteran’s day here in the philippines, but I do admire the soldiers for their courage protecting the nations!

    • Eliz@MirthandMotivation permalink*
      13/11/2020 6:12 am

      Same here. 🙂

  12. Meg permalink
    13/11/2020 4:08 am

    Them poems and quotes are beautiful and strike a chord with everyone. Thank you so much for sharing

    • Eliz@MirthandMotivation permalink*
      13/11/2020 6:12 am

      THe Vets have done so much for us

  13. Sandy N Vyjay permalink
    13/11/2020 4:55 am

    These are some really powerful and inspiring poems about Veterans day.

    • Eliz@MirthandMotivation permalink*
      13/11/2020 6:11 am

      Thank you. I admire them.

Trackbacks

  1. Motivation 2020: World Kindness Day | Mirth and Motivation
  2. Motivation Mondays: THANKSGIVING POEMS & QUOTES | Mirth and Motivation

Your Comment is Appreciated!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: