The Republic for Which It Stands

by Tom Swift

“Vigil for boy of responding kisses, (never again on earth responding)/Vigil for comrade swiftly slain, vigil I never forget, how as day brightened,/I rose from the chill ground and folded my soldier well in his blanket,/And buried him where he fell.” -Walt Whitman, “Vigil Strange I Kept on the Field One Night,” Drum Taps: The Complete Civil War Poems

Did Whitman’s soldier die in vain? Did all the men and women who gave their lives to establish, preserve, and defend America, from Lexington to lo this very day?