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The early autumn evening sun defended against the chill,
When I left the struggle on the soccer field and climbed the amber hill.
I made my way past the parking lot, the picnic table and then,
The white picket gate swung open and reverently I stepped in.
Gray tombstones at crazy angles stabbed at retreating light,
The earth was soft and spongy, the weeds had conquered height.
I scarce could know that evening, to another century I was bound,
When at first I did encounter, the Soldier by the Playground.
“Samuel C., son of Daniel and Isabella …, who fell at …Gettysburg … July 2, 1863,
In the twenty-second year of his age, striking for home and liberty.”
Gettysburg! Long ago, far off, brought home for me to find!
Now sounds of the soccer field, trailing off, merged with battle sounds in my mind.
And then I wondered, pondered, questioned which flag he would prefer,
If he could return to join us and with history confer.
Did he fight to save the Union or for the South his life forego?
Here, in the border state of Maryland, I’d possibly never know.