Today, as I thought of our servicemen and women who died for our country, I remembered this haunting song by Charles Ives from 1917, when America entered World War I. Here are the words that Ives wrote for “Tom Sails Away.”
Scenes from my childhood are with me,
I’m in the lot behind our house upon the hill,
A spring day’s sun is setting,
mother with Tom in her arms
is coming towards the garden;
the lettuce rows are showing green.
Thinner grows the smoke o’er the town,
stronger comes the breeze from the ridge,
’Tis after six, the whistles have blown,
the milk train’s gone down the valley
Daddy is coming up the hill from the mill,
We run down the lane to meet him
But today! In freedom’s cause Tom sailed away
for over there, over there!
Scenes from my childhood
are floating before my eyes.