“The Memory Shall Be Ours”

The following poem written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow appeared in The Atlantic during June 1882 and is titled “Decoration Day.” Today, we pair the poet’s reflections with photographs taken last Saturday during the Luminaries at Fredericksburg National Cemetery for a Memorial Day tribute.

Sleep, comrades, sleep and rest
On this Field of Grounded Arms,
Where foes no more molest,
Nor sentry’s shot alarms!

Fredericksburg National Cemetery is located on Maryes Heights and this marker is a reminder of an artillery position from the 2nd Battle of Fredericksburg. (Bierle)

Ye have slept on the ground before,
And started to your feet
At the cannon’s sudden roar,
Or the drum’s redoubling beat.

The Sunken Road at Fredericksburg (Bierle)

But in this camp of Death
No sound your slumber breaks;
Here is no fevered breath,
No wound that bleeds and aches.


All is repose and peace,
Untrampled lies the sod;
The shouts of battle cease,
It is the Truce of God!


Rest, comrades, rest and sleep!
The thoughts of men shall be
As sentinels to keep
Your rest from danger free.

Moonlight over the cemetery (Bierle)

Your silent tents of green
We deck with fragrant flowers
Yours has the suffering been,
The memory shall be ours.


6 Responses to “The Memory Shall Be Ours”

  1. Thank you very much for sharing this poem with us. I attended the service held at our town’s Civil War monument yesterday; the event was quite moving.

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