Wine, Words & Wednesday, No. 52

I know, it’s not Wednesday.  I’m late.

The dog ate my blog post.  No?  The truth??  I’m having one of those stop-the-ride-I-want-to-get-off kind of weeks. Three words (and if you’ve been there, you know):  girls soccer drama. Every year.  It all works itself out (some years more painfully than others), but not before it sucks the time and energy right out of me.

And so, as I looked at my calendar yesterday and realized that my usual Wednesday deadline flew by with that whooshing sound (thanks, Douglas Adams), I also remembered that Memorial Day weekend is looming.  And with it, a chance to maybe, just maybe, catch my breath.  But with all the breathing, barbecuing and mattress buying (I still don’t get the connection between Memorial Day and mattresses) that goes on this weekend, I’m also thinking about the men and women who gave all in the service of our country.

The Mr. Armchair Sommelier graduated from the United States Naval Academy (btw, graduation and commissioning ceremonies are tomorrow — congratulations, fair winds, and GO NAVY to the Class of 2015!)  Every month, the USNA alumni magazine, Shipmate, arrives in our mailbox.  It has all the usual alumni magazine stuff — financial & giving reports, faculty and alumni news, etc.  But the first, and pretty much the only thing I read, is Last Call.  The obituaries.  And I have no idea why (I mean, I didn’t go to school with these folks), but I always read the Last Call.  I guess it’s my silent thank you to these men and women for their service and sacrifice.

For as long as I can remember, Last Call has started with a poem by English poet, Laurence Binyon. Poetry rarely means anything to me, but this one?  This one gets me right in the feels.

Binyon wrote the poem, For the Fallen, in 1914, at the start of the First World War.  This is actually the fourth (and most quoted) stanza of the poem.  And this is Binyon’s own handwriting.  There is no font that conveys emotion like handwriting.  I love the yellowed, wrinkled paper, and the fading ink, the words falling on the right side . . .

Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 6.10.57 PM

What did I tell you?  I’ll pass the tissues.

This weekend, I raise my wine glass in humble thanks and remembrance, to all those who gave their lives in the service of our country.



  1. It is certainly one of the most poignant and concise stanzas ever written (in my humble and not very poetry-loving opinion). It is read here at every ANZAC Day memorial service (which is our equivalent of your memorial day I guess — except we close our shops so no matress buying) and never fails to bring tears to most people’s eyes. Like you, I read military obituaries, though the last member of my family to serve (my brother) left the army twenty years ago, and I have to go back a couple of generations to find more service personnel. I’ve never really understood quite why I do it, but your point about it being a silent thank you really struck a chord. That is precisely why. Thanks.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s