"Most of my book The [Un]documented Mark Steyn is written by yours truly, but for six lines on page 243 I roped in the real talent in the family:
Time passes, and moss and lichen creep across ancient grave stones.
But the men beneath them are forever young.
At Memorial Day observances in my neck of the woods, the veterans are honored by the fifth graders, who read verses for the occasion - both the classics and their own poems.
The latter can be a bit hit and miss, and one has to be alert, given the dispositions of some of my neighbors, for give-peace-a-chance war-is-never-the-answer not-so-subtle subtexts.
But a couple of years ago my then fifth-grade daughter was asked to write something, and so she did.
Nothing to do with me - I was away in Chicago all that week - but I was pleased to see that all the rhymes are true.
She is older now and has gotten a little teenagey, as they do, and today she would try to write it more sophisticatedly.
But I have always liked its heartfelt directness.
So this is my daughter's fifth-grade poem, as a ten-year-old girl delivered it on a small town common for Memorial Day:
The stars and stripes, red, white, and blue
Wave above our heroes true
It makes us cry, it makes us weep
But in our hearts we will keep
The sacrifice our soldiers gave, they shall not die in vain
For they have given us the freedom they have fought to gain
~excerpted from The [Un]documented Mark Steyn