“I think that I shall never see. A poem lovely as a tree.”
Happy Veteran's Day! On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the guns fell silent ending the First World War in 1918.
Hear this …. Right Here!
EXIT of the DAY:
Alfred “Joyce Kilmer” Service Area NJ Tpke n;
“When Alfred Joyce Kilmer's daughter Rose was stricken with polio shortly after birth Alfred and his wife, Aline turned to their new religion, Catholicism, for comfort.
Born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, Alfred Joyce was the son of Doctor Frederick Kilmer a physician employed by the Johnson and Johnson Company. Doctor Kilmer is notable in his own right as the inventor of the iconic Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder.
His son, Joyce Kilmer was a poet/ soldier best known for his 1913 poem “Trees”.
He was married to Aline Murray, also an accomplished poet, with whom he had five children. Later he is also credited with naming the 69th Infantry of the New York National Guard; he called his 69th Regiment from New York City, "The Fighting Irish". Or rather, Kilmer re-named the unit since in the Civil War, Robert E Lee, admiringly named this Union unit largely composed even then of tough Irish immigrants, "The Fighting 69th".
As converts to Roman Catholicism from Episcopalianism. the young poets were received in the Catholic church in 1913. Kilmer writes that he "wanted something not intellectual, some conviction not mental – in fact I wanted Faith." He claimed that when "faith did come, it came, I think, by way of my little paralyzed daughter. Her lifeless hands led me. I think her tiny feet know beautiful paths. You understand this. And it gives me a selfish pleasure to write it down.”
When the Great War began, seeking a higher calling, Kilmer enlisted and was deployed to France with his famous "Fighting Irish" in 1917. Then he received sad news. Little Rose had died.
In France, fighting the Germans, Kilmer sought increasingly hazardous duty. He was transferred to the military intelligence section where his coolness under fire was admired. One day his Commanding Officer, Wild Bill Donovan -- who would later go on to be the founder of the Central Intelligence Agency (the CIA) -- had Kilmer scout out a German machine gun nest.
When Wild Bill Donovan later ran up upon him, he thought Kilmer was just lying down, cooly watching the enemy. But when Donovan touched him, he found that he was dead. Kilmer had taken a sniper's bullet to the brain... and no doubt he followed his beloved Rose on a path her paralyzed feet had blazed to Heaven.
Happy Veterans' Day!
#Veteran'sDay #TreesPoem #AlfredJoyceKilmer #PoetSoldier