Memorial Day by Alan Hilfiker

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May 23 2015 48 mins  
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Reading of the poem "Memorial Day" by Alan Hilfiker (published May 24, 2015). Narrated by Jonathan Foss. In this stark and solemnly paced story-poem, inspired by a New York Times cover photo of a young woman sitting by a military gravestone, poet Alan Hilfiker introduces two characters: Old Steadman, and a young widow, each keeping vigil through a long Memorial Day. As ceremonies and patriotic speeches come and go, the widow struggles to come to terms with the loss of her husband in Afghanistan. Through memories of the past and longing for a future not to be, her grief bears witness to the cost of all lives cut short by service to country. Finally she looks to the old caretaker for an answer to the question “Why?” What is left when words and rites are not enough?