The 54th

This is a little different.  Those who have read me for a long time know that I have a large family — eight children, with five adopted African-American children.  We also homeschool in the great State of Maryland, which, for all of its liberalism (so blue that it is indistinguishable from indigo) is actually quite free and permissive relative to many other states with respect to homeschooling.

Taking it a step further, we live in Howard County, which arguably has the best school district in the State.  Most of our homeschooling friends are not evangelical Christians like us (homeschooling grew among evangelicals, after it being a province of the diplomatic corps, child actors, and the loony left); they are as secular as can be, and have left Howard County public schools for reasons of perceived quality.  Our estimate is that homeschooling in Maryland is predominantly secular.

But, we have nothing but praise for our interactions with the local school district.  They are unfailingly friendly and helpful with the standardized tests, etc.  Our oldest still at home may run on the Track team.

So, when my wife asked me where one of our kids could submit his poem, I said, “We could look into a bunch of kids magazines.  But I could post it at my blog, and it would probably be read by more people.”

So she asked me to post it.  The following was written by my son Matthew, who is a native tinkerer and experimenter.  One more thing to commend homeschooling: boys who learn slowly initially get labeled “learning disabled” in the public schools.  Matthew would have been one of those, but in seventh grade at age 13, he is at grade level on average for all subjects.  Tutoring (homeschooling) has overcome a native disadvantage, and he presses on.

So, it is with pleasure that I present his poem about the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry.  Recently my wife read a book aloud to the children about them, and Matthew found it inspiring.  With no further ado or comment, here it is:

The 54th

Charge, ye men, charge!
Blood and death all around.
Everything fell, but not the 54th.

Honor and bravery
Gun and cannons roared.
All fell.
But not the 54th.

Into the halls of Fort Sumter.
Into the halls of Fort Wagner.
Many fall.
But not the 54th.

Who is so brave?
Why do they fight?
They fight for freedom.
Who does?
The 54th.

-Matthew C. Merkel