Rummaging through my papers the other day, I found a piece of paper I had saved many years ago. Taken from the magazine Army, dated May 1978, I have kept if for all these years as it made a huge impact on me as a young soldier. It still does every time I read it:
Do not stand at my grave and weep:
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am a diamond glint on snow,
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the autumn rain.
When you awake in the morning hush,
I am the swift, uplifting rush
Of birds circling in flight.
I am the stars that shine at night.
So do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there – I did not die.
From the accompanying sidebar:
“The author was believed to have been a member of the 4th Infantry Division (Mech), which at the time the verse was penned was in heavy action in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. His words were prophetic because shortly after they appeared in a unit newspaper he was killed.
Who he was and how he died is not known. There was a name, once, produced at the editor’s request by a division which had more important things to do. It, too, has been lost.
For now, thank you soldier, whoever you were. You have given more meaning to Memorial Day than I could have… LBJ”