From the collection of the National Park Service, National Mall and Memorial Parks.
Printed poem entitled, "Bury Me With Soldiers" by U.S. Army and Vietnam veteran Rev. Charles R. Fink. The poem's final stanza reads, "So bury me with soldiers, please, / Though much maligned they be. / Yes, bury me with soldiers, for / I miss their company. / We'll not soon see their like again; / We've had our fill of war. / But bury me with men like them / Till someone else does more." The artifact was left at The Wall by Rev. Charles R. Fink between October - November 1987.
PRINTED POEM. THE OBJECT CONSISTS OF A POEM PRINTED IN BLACK INK AND BLOCK SCRIPT/ARABIC NUMERALS UPON THE OBVERSE OBJECT SURFACE OF A RECTANGULARLY SHAPED SHEET OF WHITE, UNLINED PAPER. THE WORK IS HEADED, "POEM FOR MEMORIAL DAY", IS ENTITLED, "BURY ME WITH SOLDIERS", IS AUTHORED BY, "CHARLES R. FINK, 199TH LIGHT INFANTRY", AND IS COMPRISED OF FIVE (5) STANZAS AND FORTY-ONE (41) TOTAL LINES (ARRANGED 8-8-9-8-8). IN CONTENT, THE FIRST (1ST) STANZA OF THE POEM BEGINS WITH THE AUTHOR CONTEMPLATING THE COURSE OF HIS LIFE, INCLUDING THE THINGS HE'S DONE AND PEOPLE HE'S KNOWN, AND CONCLUDING THAT, "[...] I'M OLD ENOUGH / TO KNOW SOMEDAY I'LL DIE, / AND THINK ABOUT WHAT LIES BEYOND, / BESIDE WHOM I WOULD LIE." THE POEM'S SECOND (2ND) STANZA FINDS THE AUTHOR ACKNOWLEDGING THAT PERHAPS THE CHOICE OF FINAL RESTING PLACE DOES NOT MATTER, BUT EXPRESSING THE PREFERENCE THAT, "I'D WANT A GRAVE 'MONGST SOLDIERS WHEN / AT LAST DEATH QUELLS MY VOICE [...] I'LL TAKE THE MAN, WITH ALL HIS FLAWS, / WHO GOES, THOUGH SCARED, AND DIES." IN THE THIRD (3RD) STANZA THE POEM'S AUTHOR ADMITS THAT THE SOLDIERS HE ONCE KNEW WERE COMMONPLACE AND SERVED PRIMARILY BECAUSE THEIR FATHERS HAD FOUGHT BEFORE THEM AND THEY HAD BEEN CALLED UPON TO DO THE SAME, YET STILL STATES, "[...] BURY ME WITH MEN LIKE THESE; / THEY FACED THE GUNS AND DIED." IN THE FOURTH (4TH) STANZA THE AUTHOR MEDITATES UPON THE STRANGENESS OF MEN OF DIFFERING BACKGROUNDS GETTING ALONG WHILE SERVING IN THE MILITARY TOGETHER, AND ASSURING THE READER THAT, "[...] I WOULD GIVE MY LIFE FOR THEM, / I HOPE; SOME DID FOR ME." THE POEM'S FIFTH (5TH) AND FINAL STANZA OPENS WITH THE LINES, "SO BURY ME WITH SOLDIERS, PLEASE, / THOUGH MUCH MALIGNED THEY BE", AND CONCLUDES WITH THE LINES, "BUT BURY ME WITH MEN LIKE THEM / TILL SOMEONE ELSE DOES MORE." A POSTSCRIPT DESCRIBING THE POEM'S AUTHOR AND READING, "[CURRENTLY, REV. CHARLES R. FINK, ASSOCIATE PASTOR OF ST. JOSEPH'S CATHOLIC CHURCH IN HEWLETT AND CHAPLAIN OF THE LONG ISLAND VET CENTER ALUMNI ASSOCIATION]" IS PRINTED IN BLACK INK AND BLOCK SCRIPT IMMEDIATELY BELOW THE POEM AT THE OBVERSE OBJECT SURFACE OF THE SHEET.
Text of the printed inscriptions upon the obverse object surface is transcribed in full, as follows: "Poem For Memorial Day / Bury Me With Soldiers / I've played a lot of roles in life; / I've met a lot of men. / I've done some things I'd like to think / I wouldn't do again. / And though I'm young, I'm old enough / To know someday I'll die, / And think about what lies beyond, / Beside whom I would lie. / Perhaps it doesn't matter much; / Still, if I had my choice, / I'd want a grave 'mongst [sic] soldiers when / At last death quells my voice. / I'm sick of the hypocricy [sic] / Of lectures by the wise. / I'll take the man, with all his flaws, / Who goes, though scared, and dies. / The troops I knew were commonplace / They didn't want the war; / They fought because their fathers and / Their fathers had before. / They cursed and killed and wept-- / God knows / They're easy to deride-- / But bury me with men like these; / They faced the guns and died. / It's funny when you think of it, / The way we got along. / We'd come from different worlds / To live in one no one belongs. / I didn't even like them all; / I'm sure they'd all agree. / Yet I would give my life for them, / I hope; some did for me. / So bury me with soldiers, please, / Though much maligned they be. / Yes, bury me with soldiers, for / I miss their company. / We'll not soon see their like again; / We've had our fill of war. / But bury me with men like them / Till someone else does more. / --Charles R. Fink, 199th Light Infantry / [Currently, Rev. Charles R. Fink, Associate Pastor of St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Hewlett and Chaplain of the Long Island Vet Center Alumni Association.]"
Item Weight: 4.6g
Item Length: 28.0cm
Item Width: 21.6cm