by Ralph Waldo Emerson
My favorite poem of all time is Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Concord Hymn,” and in particular the first two stanzas. I feel it is an expression of life, longing, and all things people yearn for. As a free country, we probably do not realize the sacrifices people made to make sure we would be safe, secure, and free of tyranny. These lines are still important today with many Middle Eastern and African countries seeking a change in governance. They provide a visualization for all that we see on the news or read in the paper. Emerson’s words ring true for all.
Dr. Penny Kyler, Public Health Analyst, Region 9
Sung at the Completion of the Battle Monument, July 4, 1837
By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard round the world.
The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.
On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set today a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.
Spirit, that made those heroes dare
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803–1882