So many names, different ranks,
their ages, they sound awfully young.
Lying close together for so long,
protected by flower-filled banks.
We walk through the rows
and read their foreign sounding names.
Some more typical, like George, Bill or James.
My heart pounds, my sadness grows.
You see, those lads were not from here,
but were left behind, eternally asleep
in Dutch soil, just six foot deep.
Did they know? Was there fear?
They were so young and full of life,
fighting for our people, for families,
for freedom to sing and to dance, to tell stories.
Missed by their mum, their child, their wife.
And I, I walk here with my mum and dad,
and they point at the markers, and say
“Look, he was seventeen, willing to pay
for our freedom. We should be glad
that boys were willing to fight, to come.
Their commanders doing what they felt was best.
And although this operation did not bring us rest,
it was a step; eventually the enemy did succumb.
Peace can be long in coming,
and freedom is never free.
We as parents want you to see,
to know, your understanding growing.”
We leave the field, the markers white
against the grass, newly cut and fragrant.
A heartache there, but in me it did implant
a gratefulness, a longing for a future bright.