Thursday, May 24, 2007

"Let them in..."

"Let them in, Peter
They are very tired
Give them couches where the angels sleep
And light those fires…"

-John Gorka

Each week's episode of ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos concludes with an "In Memoriam" segment devoted to a roll call of American service men and women who have died in Iraq since March 2003.  The count as of this morning is 3,431.  I cannot refrain from shedding the tears of deep gratitude for their selflessness...and for the sadness I feel at the loss represented by the list of names, ranks, ages and hometowns of these brave young men and women that scroll across the screen and etch themselves into the landscape of my heart. 

I lived through the Viet Nam war.  I knew the names and faces of too many boys who never came home.  I could recall the sound of their laughter each time a photo from my high school yearbook appeared in our local newspaper's obituary section.  In one case I remembered, all too tangibly, how one of these dear brave boy's hands shook nervously and were "way too soft for a boy who worked on a farm" as he held mine during a high school dance in the late spring of our sophomore year.   Seeing his photograph...crooked boyish grin, cornhusk cowlick, and wide green eyes full of  young hope...was more than I could take that summer afternoon 35 years ago.

I feel the same leaden weight of sadness each week when I hear the first haunting, yet somehow sacred, strains of the now too familiar music that underscores the latest installment of another "In Memoriam
" segment. For the family and friends of those who have received news that a loved one has been killed in service to his/her country (any country), my prayer remains, "May you feel the deep confidence and measureless peace that comes from a knowlege of God's eternal,  ever-presesnt, enduring and all-embracing, love for, and as,  each of His children."

As I think about Memorial Day 2007, I am reminded of the song, "Let Them In" written by John Gorka.  This song was later recorded by David Wilcox on his 1991
Home Again CD.  On his website Wilcox indicates that "Let Them In" was inspired by "a poem found in a hospital in the Philippines during World War II. The nurse that found the poem kept it all these years until the recent war (Desert Storm) brought out all the memorabilia. Luckily her daughter sent a copy to John."

I will let this song speak for my heart today:

"Let them in, Peter
They are very tired
Give them couches where the angels sleep
And light those fires

Let them wake whole again
To brand new dawns
Fired by the sun
Not wartime's bloody guns

May their peace be deep
God knows how young they were
To have to die

So give them things they like
Let them make some noise
Give dance hall bands not golden harps
To these our boys

And let them love, Peter
For they've had no time
They should have trees and bird songs
And hills to climb

The taste of summer in a ripened pear
And girls sweet as meadow wind
With flowing hair

And tell them how they are missed
But say not to fear
It's gonna be alright
With us down here

Let them in, Peter
Let them in, Peter
Let them in, Peter."

In Memoriam…and in Love,



  1. oh, thank you Kate, I love those lyrics. it's never occurred to me before that in the next realm we can still experience what we did not here. because it's all thought, isn't it? and they could still fall in love and have families, can't they?

    those dear soldiers....

  2. yes Laura...that is my sense of things...we just move forward...or as Carly Simon says,

    "Love is immortal
    and life is eternal
    And death is only a horizon
    and the horizon is nothing
    save the limit of our sight..."

    Not the limit of their life...but of our sight...what we are able to see of their life...

    It goes along with Eddy's statement in the article "There is no Death"...where she speaks of Edward Kimball (who had passed on earlier in the year)...

    "My beloved Edward A. Kimball, here now as veritably as when he visited me a year ago. If we would awaken to this recognition, we should see him here and realize that he never died; thus demonstrating THE (emphasis added) fundamental truth of Christian Science."

    THE fundamental truth of Christian Science...this is what I want to understand most right now....

    love you...just think of all those boys and girls falling in love, learning new skills, holding babies and hugging their makes me's all thought...and I am cherishing these thoughts!

    love you,