“To banish war, he must a warrior be”

In honor of today’s commemoration, a few words from Joyce Kilmer, the Catholic poet who lost his life in the very war whose conclusion became the historical basis for Veteran’s Day:

The Peacemaker

Upon his will he binds a radiant chain,

For Freedom’s sake he is no longer free.

It is his task, the slave of Liberty,

With his own blood to wipe away a stain.

That pain may cease, he yields his flesh to pain.

To banish war, he must a warrior be.

He dwells in Night, eternal Dawn to see,

And gladly dies, abundant life to gain.

What matters Death, if Freedom be not dead?

No flags are fair, if Freedom’s flag be furled.

Who fights for Freedom, goes with joyful tread

To meet the fires of Hell against him hurled,

And has for captain Him whose thorn-wreathed head

Smiles from the Cross upon a conquered world.

By

Joseph Susanka has been doing development work for institutions of Catholic higher education since his graduation from Thomas Aquinas College in 1999. Currently residing in Lander, Wyoming -- "where Stetsons meet Birkenstocks" -- he is a columnist for Crisis Magazine and the Patheos Catholic portal.

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