Although a lot of people might think Memorial Day is a holiday just a long weekend and the unofficial start of the summer, many families across the United States will remember their lost loved ones who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. This day originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the war. By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died while serving the country in military service. To honor our fallen heroes, we’ve gathered a compilation of poems.

"Eyes of Blue" by Arlene SmithA people persecuted beyond imagination; To help them he felt, was his obligation. He joined the army in World War II; Not knowing his hell would be Eyes of Blue. When he reached Normandy, the beaches were red. Crawling over his brothers who lay already dead. To give this tyrant, this devil his due; Not knowing his own demons, would be Eyes of Blue. He rounded a building securing a town; A young German soldier was just coming round. He plunged his bayonet, the quicker of the two; Killing the young soldier, with Eyes of Blue. He knelt down beside him with tears in his eyes; How long this moment would last, he did not realize. He closed the eyes as he thought he should do; Thinking never again to see those Eyes of Blue. The victor over many in Germany and Japan; It was always difficult taking life from a man. None would haunt him, this he now knew; As long as the soldier, with Eyes of Blue. He died an old man, to heaven he went; For this honorable soldier, mercy was sent. First time since the war, so sad but true; A peaceful sleep, not seeing Eyes of Blue.

"Memorial Day" by CW JohnsonWe walked among the crosses Where our fallen soldiers lay. And listened to the bugle As TAPS began to play. The Chaplin led a prayer We stood with heads bowed low. And I thought of fallen comrades I had known so long ago. They came from every city Across this fertile land. That we might live in freedom. They lie here 'neath the sand. I felt a little guilty My sacrifice was small. I only lost a little time But these men lost their all. Now the services are over For this Memorial Day. To the names upon these crosses I just want to say, Thanks for what you've given No one could ask for more. May you rest with God in heaven From now through evermore.

"Freedom Is Not Free" by Kelly StrongI watched the flag pass by one day. It fluttered in the breeze. A young Marine saluted it, and then he stood at ease. I looked at him in uniform So young, so tall, so proud, He'd stand out in any crowd. I thought how many men like him Had fallen through the years. How many died on foreign soil? How many mothers' tears? How many pilots' planes shot down? How many died at sea? How many foxholes were soldiers' graves? No, freedom isn't free. I heard the sound of TAPS one night, When everything was still I listened to the bugler play And felt a sudden chill. I wondered just how many times That TAPS had meant "Amen," When a flag had draped a coffin Of a brother or a friend. I thought of all the children, Of the mothers and the wives, Of fathers, sons and husbands With interrupted lives. I thought about a graveyard At the bottom of the sea Of unmarked graves in Arlington. No, freedom isn't free.

"When I'm Gone" by Mrs. Lyman HancockWhen I come to the end of my journey And I travel my last weary mile, Just forget if you can, that I ever frowned And remember only the smile. Forget unkind words I have spoken; Remember some good I have done. Forget that I ever had heartache And remember I've had loads of fun. Forget that I've stumbled and blundered And sometimes fell by the way. Remember I have fought some hard battles And won, ere the close of the day. Then forget to grieve for my going, I would not have you sad for a day, But in summer just gather some flowers And remember the place where I lay, And come in the shade of evening When the sun paints the sky in the west Stand for a few moments beside me And remember only my best.

"Peace" by Amanda BradleyPeace will come when people live In friendship, side by side, And cherish understanding More than hatred, greed and pride. Peace will come when people see All people as the same, And no one has to live in fear, In ignorance, or shame. Peace will come when people Who are needy can reach out For shelter, food, or love, And no has to do without. Peace will come when people Learn to listen and to care About the rights and dignity Of people everywhere. Peace will come when love and trust And kindness know rebirth, And on that day all people Will rejoice in peace on earth.

"Soldier Buried on the Battlefield" by Unknown Author: And when the wind in the tree-tops roared, The soldier asked from the deep dark grave: "Did the banner flutter then?" "Not so, my hero," the wind replied. "The fight is done, but the banner won, Thy comrades of old have borne it hence, Have borne it in triumph hence." Then the soldier spake from the deep dark grave: "I am content." Then he heareth the lovers laughing pass, and the soldier asks once more: "Are these not the voices of them that love, That love--and remember me?" "Not so, my hero," the lovers say, "We are those that remember not; For the spring has come and the earth has smiled, And the dead must be forgot." Then the soldier spake from the deep dark grave: "I am content."

"In Flanders Fields" by John McCraeIn 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.