The church's steeple was a beacon for that rural countryside.
He'd gone to Sunday School there, there he'd wed his bride.
The young hero returned to church, alas, to be borne to his rest;
Young, all too very young, his precious life was wrest.
The farm where he was born and raised was just across the way.
The fields abutted the graveyard where the gallant airman lay.
Fields that were faithfully tilled by his Dad and Granddad,
Fields that would one day all be his, hoped his doting Dad.
His Dad introduced him to the putt-putting of the old John Deere,
And sat with him on the steel seat teaching him how to steer.
He toiled and sweated beneath the broiling Hoosier sun,
Busy from dawn to dusk, it seemed his work was never done.
As teenage years sped by, farming had lost its charm.
He dreamed of flight as planes streaked across the farm.
He left the old farmstead to pursue a career in aviation.
Alas, a terrible crash curtailed his lifetime aspiration.
He felt obligated to serve as his Dad and Grandpa had done.
Now, sleek fighter planes flew over to honor him for laurels won.
The plaintive notes of "Taps" echoed across the prairie surreal.
Lowered in his grave, the church bell tolled a doleful peal.
Robert L. Hinshaw, CMSgt, USAF, Retired (© All Rights Reserved)