WORLD WAR II FROM A TO Z
And the night was dismal and cold.
I watched the weary rise, –
And the moon was a riband of gold.
Far off I heard the trumpet sound,
Calling the quick and the dead,
The long and rumbling roll of drums,
And the moon was a riband of red.
Dead sailors rose from out of the deep,
Nor looked not left or right,
But shoreward marched upon the sea,
And the moon was a riband of white.
A hundred ghosts stood on the shore
At the turn of the midnight flood,
They beckoned me with spectral hands,
And the moon was a riband of blood.
Slowly I walked to the waters edge,
And never once looked back
Till the waters swirled about my feet,
And the moon was a riband of black.
I woke alone on a desolate shore
From a dream not sound or sweet,
For there in the sands in the moonlight
Were the marks of phantom feet.
“Iron Bottom Bay” by
Walter A. Mahler, chaplain, USS Astoria
Ironbottom Sound is the name given by Allied sailors to Savo Sound, the stretch of water at the southern end of The Slot between Guadalcanal, Savo Island, and Florida Island of the Solomon Islands, because of the dozens of ships and planes that sank there during the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942-43. Prior to the war, it was called Sealark Channel. Every year on the battle’s anniversary, a US ship in the area cruises into the waters and drops a wreath to commemorate those who lost their lives. For many Navy sailors, and those who served in the area during that time, the waters in this area are considered sacred, and strict silence is observed as ships cruise through.