When my father died I wrote this poem which I read at his funeral. It serves still as an appropriate epitaph. It is posted here to share with all who knew him or come to know of his life.
Epitaph To A Soldier
By Terry Lynch
December 28, 1973
Here lies a soldier Who lived for his wife and children Who lived for his loved ones Who lived for all that is the essence Of life, family, land Here lies a soldier And he is not gone from us Not really, not truly For he lives ever In those of us closest Who shared this soldier's Life, love, land, dream Here lies a soldier He lived that we may live Longer lives, more full lives, Lives richer in joy, happiness, love Here lies a soldier Who never of his own wronged any Who lived for peace, peace and love Who strove for this in all his work Which now remains our work Carry on soldier Carry on the struggle Working for love, family, peace, freedom. Endeavor to take not Reaching for these sacred treasures. Live rather for their fulfillment. Through your heart shared This light can be Carry on soldier Here lies your worthy leader One who you can follow And know that your conscience Has not been misguided Here lies a soldier But he is not gone Listen... The wind... The trees... Our breath... He lives in this, his land And all of us Here lies a soldier Nothing more need be said. My father was buried in a small cementer upon Fort Mc Clellan where he once served as Transportation Officer. It was there that he laid the ground work for later events which would move and change many peoples lives. For in the early 1960's he was involved in the training National Guard units from Alabama and Mississippi. Many of these troops would later be federalized to take part in such historic events as the Selma to Montgomery Civil Rights march. It is a fact that my father later was a primary participant in the Selma to Montgomery march. As a logistics transportation officer responsible for the planning and movement of thousands of troops, having been previously involved in planning evacuation contingency plans in Europe, his expertise would be used in to provide the safe escort for thousands of marchers under the protection of 4,000 National Guard troops. It was not by chance that the Selma to Montgomery march occurred without bloodshed. My father was a highly trained soldier who commanded battalions and supervised in the design and planning of operations designed to effect the safe and secure movement of large masses of people in crisis situations. He was involved from 1960 until his retirement in 1967 in training of National Guard units. The units he supervised, commanded and trained were the same units who provides a safe corridor and security for the thousands of civil rights marchers on March 21-25, 1965. Had it not been for my father's command, and the security provided by 4,000 troops, the Selma to Montgomery march would likely have never happened or would have incurred bloodshed and the loss of life. After the events of "bloody Sunday" President Lyndon B. Johnson addressed Congress and introduced the Voting Rights Act of 1965 on March 15, 1965. Within a week federalized National Guard units would be assigned to protect and secure civil rights marchers as they walked from Selma to Montgomery. This military operation which was planned and executed by Lynch and 4,000 troops was essentially used by President Johnson to effect the success of the Selma to Montgomery march without bloodshed and to insure a political victory and the later passage of the Voting Rights Act which Johnson signed into law on August 7, 1965. Johnson was therefore able to achieve a great political victory and accomplish the passage of the Voting Rights Act, something he had not been able to do with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which in its original draft had contained voting rights provisions that Congress cut out. We can do no greater honor then to remember those soldiers who made sacrifice for their country. My father made such sacrifice daily. He was away from his wife and children in both World War II and the Korean War. Throughout the Cold War he daily served his country to help insure peace and guarantee freedom not only of Americans, but of people in Europe and Asia. Then during the Vietnam War he had the hardship duty of telling wives and families that their loved one had been killed in action. This bore heavy upon his heart and was a factor in his early death. My father died in December of 1973. He was sitting at the kitchen table talking with his wife as he so often did. Several months earlier he had had open heart surgery and he suffered from high blood pressure. His heart just stopped. I gave him CPR and called rescue units but they were not able to revive him. He died quickly without pain or suffering. We can do no greater honor then to remember a soldier and a father who sacrificed so much for God and country, for duty and honor, for the love of family and freedom. I love you Dad! May you rest in peace!
Goodbye Dad! I Salute You!
Terry Lynch 28 April, l998
These records were compiled from official U.S. Army Service records, commendations, awards, certificates and other original documents in Lynch Family Archives.