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What are some good poetic salutes to veterans?

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Quick Answer

The poems “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae, “Still a Soldier” by Timothy Emmons and “Touching the Names” by John Foulcher are three examples of works honoring veterans. Poet McCrae was also a veteran.

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Full Answer

McCrae was a Canadian artillery commander and military doctor during WWI. It is believed that he wrote “In Flanders Fields” after conducing burial services for his friend and fellow soldier Alexis Helmer, who had been killed in an artillery shell explosion. The poem calls for the living to remember the dead and carry on their memories in thought and action.

Emmons’ poem “Still a Soldier” is written from the point of view of a veteran. In it, the narrator explains that throughout all the roles he has had in his lifetime, including those of “husband, father, and friend,” he remained a “soldier all along.”

Foulcher is an Australian poet who often wrote explicitly or thematically about war. His poem “Touching the Names” describes a woman visiting the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. She runs her hands over the names until finding the one she is looking for. In witnessing this woman’s devotion, the narrator expresses the desire to honor the dead by carrying their names and lives within himself.

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