American Presidents

American Presidents: James A. Garfield

Poem One: James Garfield's Father
Based on the poem "Nancy Hanks" by Rosemary and Stephen Benet.
Adapted by Vincetta Dooner

Came back as a ghost,
Seeking news
Of what he loved most,
He'd ask first
"Where is my son?
What happened to JAMES?
What's he done?

"You wouldn't know
About my son?
Did he grow tall?
Did he have fun?
Did he learn to read?
Did he get to town?
Did you know his name?
Did he get on?

Poem Two: President Garfield
This Poem is read by Ms. Dooner's class at
Lake View Cemetery and Lawnfield each year on the anniversary of
President Garfield's birth.
Poem written by Celia Ryder, mother of student Christopher Ryder.

President Garfield, we're here to greet you
Lying entombed for over a century now
We come to remember your life and your deeds,
Hoping your spirit will take a great bow.

Born in Ohio, a log cabin your home,
Always industrious, but ever so poor.
Your mother, as teacher, helped you surpass,
And grow to be a man who many adored.

You studied and worked to succeed in your trades,
A teacher, a minister, a soldier were you.
But slavery was everywhere, so evil and oppressing,
And to fight for men's freedom you knew you should do.

So away from your family to the Civil War you went,
With the soldiers you trained on your own.
You fought the great battle of Chikamauga,
And returned major general - a leader well-known.

To politics then - the Congress and Senate,
To serve your America always was first.
And president next, an honor
Most honestly earned and truly deserved.

But shortly thereafter - just four months had passed.
A bullet would stop you, the man so grand.
All the years of dedication and valor
Dashed by Guiteau's villainous hand.

We're here to remember, but also to learn
From the deeds of Garfield's life,
That he also had a dream, like other great men,
For equal rights and the end of racial strife.

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