Mary Ann Bickerdyke
Mary Ann Bickerdyke
Camps of Green- Walt Whitman
Nor alone those camps of white, old comrades of the wars,
When as order’d forward, after a long march,
Footsore and weary, soon as the light lessens we halt for the night,
Some of us so fatigued carrying the gun and knapsack, dropping
asleep in our tracks,
Others pitching the little tents, and the fires lit up begin to sparkle,
Outposts of pickets posted surrounding alert through the dark,
And a word provided for countersign, careful for safety,
Till to the call of the drummers at daybreak loudly beating the drums,
We rise up refresh’d, the night and sleep pass’d over, and resume our
Or proceed to battle.
Lo, the camps of the tents of green,
Which the days of peace keep filling, and the days of war keep filling,
With a mystic army, (is it too order’d forward? is it too only
Till night and sleep pass over?)
Now in those camps of green, in their tents dotting the world,
In the parents, children, husbands, wives, in them, in the old and young,
Sleeping under the sunlight, sleeping under the moonlight, content
and silent there at last,
Behold the mighty bivouac-field and waiting-camp of all,
Of the corps and generals all, and the President over the corps and
And of each of us O soldiers, and of each and all in the ranks we fought,
(There without hatred we all, all meet.)
For presently O soldiers, we too camp in our place in the
bivouac-camps of green,
But we need not provide for outposts, nor word for the countersign,
Nor drummer to beat the morning drum.
This poem is about how soldiers adjust to military life. In the beginning, the constant waiting at camp or marching all day is boring and tiring, without a point. But eventually, maybe after a skirmish or two, the soldiers are used to the almost nomadic lives, and do not have to be prompted to make shelters or get up at the break of day and get moving. The poem kinda shows how the soldiers are restless at first, because they do not like just sitting around or marching endlessly, but toward the end, as all of those things become normal and routine, they begin to be content, and they almost begin to believe that no fighting will ever take place where they are. Even when they go to battle, the two sides meet “without hatred” for each other. I think that the poem reveals that Walt Whitman had that idealized view of a common soldier’s life- You marched a little, maybe fought a little, but everyone was generally in good spirits and very courageous, always ready to fight, even if they never do. There aren’t any wounds or death or disease, just a very boring, routine life.
To The Leaven’d Soil They Trod- Walt Whitman
To the leaven’d soil they trod calling I sing for the last,
(Forth from my tent emerging for good, loosing, untying the tent-ropes,)
In the freshness the forenoon air, in the far-stretching circuits and vistas again to peace restored,
To the fiery fields emanative and the endless vistas beyond, to the South and the North,
To the leaven’d soil of the general Western world to attest my songs,
To the Alleghanian hills and the tireless Mississippi,
To the rocks I calling sing, and all the trees in the woods,
To the plains of the poems of heroes, to the prairies spreading wide,
To the far-off sea and the unseen winds, and the sane impalpable air;
And responding they answer all, (but not in words,)
The average earth, the witness of war and peace, acknowledges mutely,
The prairie draws me close, as the father to bosom broad the son,
The Northern ice and rain that began me nourish me to the end,
But the hot sun of the South is to fully ripen my songs.
The mood of the poem is very flowy and almost dream-like. He is describing all these places around the United States in a very positive way (which is weird, considering the country is in the middle of the bloodiest war in history), signified by words/phrases like “freshness of the forenoon air”, “tireless Mississippi”, and “impalpable air”. There isn’t a time or a place for the poem- it’s everywhere and applies to everyone and every thing. I almost see it as the aftermath of the war- Walt Whitman’s belief of what life after the war would (hopefully) be. On the basis of this poem, I think Walt Whitman believed like many people of his time- that war is glorious, and that there isn’t a lot of death or gruesome things, and that people just die as heros, without suffering. It is very idealized and contrary to what actually happened during the Civil War.
A war hero is someone who, as a soldier fighting in a war, does something courageous, something unplanned an unexpected, to help save the lives of others. Not every soldier is a war hero. There isn’t really one definition of a ‘war hero’, it really depends on the situation. For example, I read a story on during my research that talked about two men who had died in Iraq, both from the same town, only one was labeled a hero and one was not. The reason that one of the guys is a hero is because he jumped onto a grenade in order to save his comrades. The other guy was only shot or hit by a roadside bomb or something like that. A war hero not only IS brave, or IS willing to sacrifice themselves for others, a war hero DOES brave things, or DOES sacrifice themselves for others. The term war hero is very subjective and really depends on the person.
(Audie Murphy, World War II uniform with medals)
Audie Murphy is believed to be the most decorated American soldier in history. He is a World War II veteran who endured twenty-seven months of combat and earned thirty-nine metals for his service (thirty-three from the United States, five from France, and one from Belgium). Among these metals, he received the Metal of Honor, the highest award give in the U.S. Military, the Distinguished Service Cross, two Silver Stars, the Legion of Merit, two Bonze Stars and three Purple Hearts.
Audie Murphy was born in Texas in 1926 to poor sharecropping parents, as the sixth of twelve children. He only stayed in school until the completion of the eighth grade, after which he dropped out to help support his family, working picking cotton or plowing for anyone who would hire him. He was a very avid hunter, and supplied most of the family’s meat that way. His father abandoned him in childhood, and by his early to mid teens, he was working in a convenience store and at a radio repair shop. At fifteen, his mother passed away, and he had to place his three youngest siblings in an orphanage.
After Pearl Harbor, Murphy, at age fifteen, tried to enlist in the military, but was rejected because of his age. The next year, he altered his birth records to be able to pass for eighteen and, at age sixteen, he succeeded in enlisting the United States Army. Though he was small and struggled in basic training, Murphy insisted that he wanted to be in combat, and after thirteen weeks of basic, he was sent to Maryland for advanced infantry training. He was shipped to Morocco in 1943, as a replacement soldier. His first battle was in the Invasion of Sicily in June 1943. He was made a corporal after killing two Italian officers that had tried to escape, and he contracted malaria, which troubled him off and on for the rest of his military career. After Sicily was secured, his troops headed for the mainland of Italy, where, in Salemo, Murphy was promoted to sergeant after leading troops to victory in a German ambush. His division was sent to France in 1944, where he wiped out an entire German machine-gun team, then used their ammunition to destroy several other German positions (for which he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross). For more ‘heroic’ actions, Murphy was promoted to Platoon Sergeant (or staff sergeant), and eventually t o Platoon Lieutenant (or second lieutenant). He was wounded not long after his promotion and was out of action for ten weeks. Once he returned, he became company commander, and was wounded again. Because of his help in securing victory in the Battle of Holtzwihr (in France), Murphy was awarded the Medal of Honor. After the battle, Murphy was removed from the front line, promoted to first lieutenant, and sent from Paris to San Antonio, Texas in June 1945.
Murphy suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after the war, and became addicted to a doctor- subscribed sleeping pill. He married in 1949 (the same year he wrote his autobiography, To Hell and Back), divorced in 1951, and then remarried not long after. His second wife, Pamela Archer, gave him two children, Terrance and James. Then, Murphy became a movie star, appearing in a total forty-four films (mostly westerns), and he also owned a ranch, where he bread quarter horses. Audie Murphy died in May 1971, from his private plane crashing into a mountain in VA. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery in a full honors ceremony. Though most soldiers awarded the Medal of Honor have a gold leaf on their tombstone, Murphy insisted that his tombstone remain plain and inconspicuous, as any ordinary soldier. After his death, the Audie Murphy Patriotism Award, the Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital, the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club, and Audie Murphy Day (in Texas) were all tributes made by the government and citizens to try and honor Audie Murphy and his deeds in World War II.
(statue outside the Audie Murphy Memorial Hospital in San Antonio, Texas)