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Memorial Day

by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Why deck with flow'rs these humble mounds?
Why gather round this fast decaying mold?
Why doth remembrance keep her solemn rounds
And wrap these sleepers in her loving fold?
Why kneel, ye silent mourners, here
To drop the reverential tear?
Flesh is but dust when parted from the breath.

Flesh is but dust, but worth of soul is gold!
'Tis not the dust we honor, but the brave
And noble spirits that it once did hold.
So kneel we weeping at the grave,
As at the door through which have passed,
To enter into mansions vast,
The heroes who have gone to meet
A dearer destiny than dirgeful death.

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