Unless otherwise noted, the lyrics that appear on this page are by Pat Daneman and Robert Hill

I. I will walk slowly

Younger:
White roses, pure as snow,
How will I know
Which one to choose?
Perhaps if I circle round,
Once, twice, three times
I will hear them, be moved by them, and know…
So I will walk slowly, very slow.

II. We, the unknown

Chorus:
We the unknown…
We each have a name,
That our mothers gave us,
That our teachers called us,
That our lovers whispered,
But will never be heard again
We honored the call,
And did our duty,
Tried to honor our names,
Our families, our country.
All we ask is honor in return—
Write of us and sing of us,
Make your words the spark
that keeps us alive
And lights our way into the dark.
So speak, sing, spark [Speak, sing, spark]
So no one will ever forget.

Younger:
I thought the task was simple:
To choose the most deserving man…
But in death all, ALL are so—
Sinner and saint
Brave of heart and faint—
All are deserving, yet
I must choose just one,
Just one.

III. Fear (Unknown #1)

Chorus:
We go to war,
We go to fight,
We go to do
What we’re sure is right.
Dulce et decorum est                    It is sweet and fitting
Pro patria mori.                             To die for one’s country.

Unknown #1:
To tell the truth, I’m really afraid.
I don’t want to fight or kill or die
What if I die? Will they feel the shame—
My mother, my father, my wife?
Will they still say my name?
Remember me as brave?

Chorus:
Dulce et decorum est                   
Pro patria mori.                           

Unknown #1:
It is an interesting feeling, fear—
Part dread and part shame,
Part in the body, part in the brain—
In that way, a lot like love.
And it is true, I love
The men who fight with me,
When the sun is out and the field is quiet
I even love the enemy.
I hear my mother say it,
pray it—love thy enemy.

Chorus:
We go to war,
We go to fight,
We go to do
What we believe is right.
Dulce et decorum est                  
Pro patria mori.                           

Unknown #1:
To tell the truth,
I’m really afraid, uncertain too.
At first, I send the men ahead of me.
Ashamed, I run
To catch up. I see one fall,
And another, who calls out to me.
I run toward him, reach out to him
As around us the earth explodes.

Chorus:
We go to war,
We go to fight,
We go to do
What we hope is right.

Unknown #1:
In battle there is courage,
Even for the most afraid.
Speak for me,
Tell everyone I leave behind
That I was brave.
I ran toward love,
I didn’t run away.
Dulce et decorum est                          It is sweet and fitting
Pro fraternitas mori.                            To die for one’s brothers-in-arms.

IV. I may not know your name

Younger:
I see you.
I may not know your name, but I see you.
No matter how dim the light, or faint the shape,
Or long the night,
I see you all, each and all.

V. Hell is mud

Chorus:
Not a trace of trench left
One can see nothing for smoke, fire and spurting earth.
We sink down, dazed, upon the tortured earth.
A new day breaks, more horrible than the last…
Men die of mud, just as they die from bullets, but more horribly.
Mud is where men sink and – what is worse – where their soul sinks.
Mud hides the stripes of rank; there are only poor suffering beasts.
Hell is not fire. Hell is mud.
                                                – from the National WWI Museum; author unknown

VI. Equality (Unknown #2)

Unknown #2:
They try to pretend that we’re not here.
Just like back home, they keep us
Out of sight and give us the dirty work,
But I’m a damn good solider,
And I’ve come to fight.
I’ve learned to follow orders,
To lead, to march all night
And shoot a gun. I’ve come to hold the President
To his promise to keep democracy safe for everyone,
So that it may be made more perfect,
For everyone.
I know myself better than they know me—
I am a full citizen,
A damn good solider,
And I’m here to fight
For equality.

Chorus:
War has a way of leveling us —
Mud turns us into shadows, smoke clouds our eyes.
War strips away every pretense
Of station or rank—it is the same hell
In German as in English and French—
Barbed wire and trenches,
The groan of machinery, men
Groaning like beasts.
War has a way of naming us
Without regard for past identity.
War has a way of blinding us
While making us see.

Unknown #2:
We are here to fight, my brothers,
And the battle is not yet done—
In the fields of Saint-Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne,
For our families, our mothers and wives back home.
We are here to fight, my brothers,
And the battle goes on,
Here as in the Southern fields, the Northern factories back home.
We’re not here to die, my brothers, but to fight and rise as one—
When one of us is brave, we all are honored—
In life and in death,
Here and at home.

Chorus:
We’re not here to die, my brothers, but to fight
And rise as one—
When one of us is brave, we all are honored—
We fight and rise as one.
E pluribus unum.                                    Out of many, one.

Unknown #2:
I am a damn good soldier and full citizen
And I am here to fight with you—
Rise and fight as one.

Unknown #2 with Chorus:
One!

VII. I know you

Younger:
I know you.
I cannot know your names, but I know you.
You are my brothers.
Forgive me, brothers, I must choose just one,
But in choosing one, I choose all,
In honoring one, I honor all.

VII. Love (Unknown #3)

Unknown #3:
I am like every man and every soldier here,
The same but different; inside so different.
Even though I volunteered,
I did it for him and the love we share.
They tried to separate us all along the way,
But failed, and failed again.
Now, alone in an abandoned trench,
We wait for tomorrow’s pre-dawn fight,
The one for which
The captain asked for volunteers,
And my gallant, wounded love
Tried to raise a hand—but
I whispered, “No, my fight, my rendezvous.”
And he smiled love’s knowing smile.
Alone and unafraid, we make love
And say goodbye, just in case,
Hoping beyond hope our love endures,
To see the light of day, the light of home.
To this, to him, I pledge my all.

IX. I Have a Rendezvous With Death
by Alan Seeger, American poet who died in WWI

Chorus:
I have a rendezvous with Death
At some disputed barricade,
When Spring comes back with rustling shade
And apple-blossoms fill the air –
I have a rendezvous with Death
When Spring brings back blue days and fair.
It may be he shall take my hand
And lead me into his dark land
And close my eyes and quench my breath –
It may be I shall pass him still.
I have a rendezvous with Death
On some scarred slope of battered hill,
When Spring comes round again this year
And the first meadow-flowers appear.
God knows ‘twere better to be deep
Pillowed in silk and scented down,
Where love throbs out in blissful sleep,
Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath,
Where hushed awakenings are dear…
But I’ve a rendezvous with Death
At midnight in some flaming town,
When Spring trips north again this year,
And I to my pledged word am true,
I shall not fail that rendezvous.
                           

X. The Mother’s Son (Unknown #4)

Gold Star Mother of Unknown #4:
Before he was a soldier,
He was my son, a boy
Before he was a man. You wish to know him?
Let me say he hated Lima beans
And loved vanilla ice cream.
He ran fast and sometimes woke at night—
I’d find him in the yard looking at the stars.
Before he was called up to fight
He’d never seen the ocean.
He wrote to me that it
Was not blue as he had dreamed,
But gray and foaming white, the same
In every direction. It made him think
About the world, the size of it, he one man
So small. His place among its people—
So many people, so ready
To fight each other.

Chorus:
There they go marching all in step so gay!
Smooth-cheeked and golden, food for shells and guns.
Blithely they go as to a wedding day,
The mothers’ sons.
                            – Katharine Tynan, “Joining the Colors”

Mother:
In his words I saw
He was not a boy anymore—
Who stole apples from the tree,
And chased the boys who called his sister names.
He had just met a girl. He blushed when I asked him
Who he was walking with.

Mother and Chorus:
“It seems there is enough room in the world
For everyone,” he wrote. “Why do we fight?”

Mother:
By then, he’d been gone for months.
I had no idea where he might be, my boy,
His questions making him a man.

Chorus:
High heart! High courage! The poor girls they kissed
Run with them: they shall kiss no more, alas!
Out of the mist they stepped-into the mist
Singing they pass.
                        – Katharine Tynan, “Joining the Colors”

Mother:
In his last letter home,
He wrote of spring, green returning to the earth, a promise
Of life reborn amid the waste of war.
Children in battered villages coming out to play,

Mother
:                                                                    Younger:

A baker with a tray of bread,                                    I may have fought with you.
A friend who shared a cigarette,                              We may have shared a glance.
Wildflowers along the road,                                     I may have seen you die,
White primroses, yellow cowslips,                           carried your body off the field.
                                                                                My fellow soldiers.

Both with Chorus
:

And in the fields for miles, the poppies,

Mother:
So delicate, oceans of red.

XI. In Flanders Fields
by John McCrae, poet and physician of Canada, who perished in WWI

Chorus:
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.                              

XII. We honor all

Younger:
I may have fought with you.
We may have shared a glance.
I may have seen you die, carried your body
off the field. My fellow soldiers, buddies all…

Chorus:
We see and know you.
You are our brothers.
In choosing one, we choose all,
In honoring one, we honor all.

Younger:
But you…
You call to me. I close my eyes and hear you…
And I choose…

Chorus, Younger, Gold Star Mother:
We cannot forget, we must not
Those who gave their all
For country, honor, and duty,
For brothers and sisters in arms.
We cannot forget those who died unknown,
For reasons unknown…
It is not why, but that they fought,
That ignites the eternal flame of our remembrance.

Chorus:
Here rests in honored glory
An American Soldier
Known but to God.