Home     Interests & Activities       Photo Gallery

The Inspiration of Poetry and Verse

Till The Last Shot's Fired

Trace Adkins

I was there in the winter of '64
When we camped in the ice
at Nashville's doors
Three hundred miles our trail had led
We barely had time to bury our dead
When the Yankees charged and the colors fell
Overton hill was a living hell
When we called retreat it was almost dark
I died with a grapeshot in my heart

Say a prayer for peace
For every fallen son
Set my spirit free
Let me lay down my gun
Sweet mother Mary I'm so tired
But I can't come home 'til
the last shot's fired

In June of 1944
I waited in the blood of Omaha's shores
Twenty-one and scared to death
My heart poundin' in my chest
I almost made the first seawall
When my friends turned and saw me fall
I still smell the smoke, I can taste the mud
As I lay there dying from a loss of blood

Say a prayer for peace
For every fallen son
Set my spirit free
Let me lay down my gun
Sweet mother Mary I'm so tired
But I can't come home 'til
the last shot's fired

I'm in the fields of Vietnam,
The mountains of Afghanistan
And I'm still hopin', waitin', prayin'
I did not die in vain

Say a prayer for peace
For every fallen son
Set our spirits free
Let us lay down our guns
Sweet mother Mary we're so tired
But we can't come home 'til
the last shot's fired
'Til the last shot's fired

Say a prayer for peace (for peace)
For our daughters and our sons
Set our spirits free (set us free)
Let us lay down our guns

Sweet mother Mary, we're so tired
But we can't come home (No
we can't come home)

'Til the last shot's fired


The proper function of man is to live,
not to exist.        
I shall not waste my days in trying    
to prolong them.
I shall use my time.                       

                                                    -------Jack London


Hillcrest Cemetery

In Memory of Alfred M. Painter
May 31, 1889

 Yes, All is O�er �
His Form Is Laid Beneath The Sod,
His Life Was Such No One
Could Blame;
He Finds A Home In Heaven
With God,
Archangels Shout And
Sing His Name,
While Christ His Lord
Doth Give Him Fame.


...for the soldiers that fell at Buena Vista in February, 1847...
The Mexican-American War

(Inscription at entrance of several national cemeteries)

The muffled drum's sad roll has beat
The soldier's last tattoo;
No more on life's parade shall meet
That brave and fallen few.
On Fame's eternal camping-ground
Their silent tents are spread,
And Glory guards, with solemn round,
The bivouac of the dead.

Theodore O'Hara



 �The Spell of the Yukon�

By Robert Service


I wanted the gold, and I sought it
I scrabbled and mucked like a slave.
Was it famine or scurvy � I fought it;
I hurled my youth into a grave.
I wanted the gold, and I got it-
Came out with a fortune last Fall;
Yet somehow life�s not what I thought it,
And somehow the gold isn�t all.

There�s gold, and it�s haunting and haunting;
It�s luring me on as of old;
Yet it isn�t the gold that I�m wanting
So much as just finding the gold.
It�s the great, big, broad land �way up yonder,
It�s the forests where silence has lease;
It�s the beauty that thrills me with wonder,
It�s the stillness that fills me with peace.

"May your dreams come true and the bottom of your pan always be yellow!"





 Hillcrest�s Gift

 At each morning�s first light,
I start my rounds of those sights,
That the Hillcrest has provided me.

 With early daylight burning the cool pure dew,
The sounds of the forest come alive as on cue,
That symphony of Nature that is oh so free.

 As Spring brings green fields and redbud bloom,
Hope for this year will not far away loom,
The bounty this season in Fall we will see.

 The farmer toils his hallowed summer task,
His faith and hope he cannot mask,
Beyond his power, he must simply �let it be�.

 The noon summer sun without mercy glows,
To the Walnut shade one will always stow,
Dreams of cool days that are not yet seen.

 From seed to sawdust the woodsman tends his lot,
Taking and leaving, he works this special spot,
To craft nature�s legacy while nursing his trees.

 The Autumn Fall colors so brilliant and stunning,
Portend of Thanksgiving, the harvest and hunting,
Which leaves to think no greater paradise be.

 The mystery of Nature creates hidden treasure,
Its wondrous discovery that is without measure,
These precious new finds without limit you see.

 With Winter�s grey skies we can rest at last,
Tho� our list of duties will never be past,
For this is Hillcrest�s gift to me.








 �The Early Years�


 When they lay me down for the last time,
let it be said that � he gave more than he took�

   The oath of a farmer, hunter, and outdoorsman.


"soon to be found at a bookstore near you.............."

Oh Shenandoah


This "Oh Shenandoah"  captures the longing of something we will never see again.  This beautiful song is a testament to the American westward movement of the early nineteenth century. It captures the migration to a new land leaving behind loved ones and a beautiful place. It has at least three voices, one of the love of the daughter of an Indian Chief, another loves a daughter of the Shenandoah Valley and a third is taking his wife westward.

If I had to pick a theme song for the Hillcrest, this would be it.


Oh Shenandoah,
I long to hear you,
Away you rolling river,
Oh Shenandoah,
I long to hear you,
Away, I'm bound away
'Cross the wide Missouri.


Oh Shenandoah,
I love your daughter,
Away you rolling river,
I'll take her 'cross
Your rollin' water,
Away, I'm bound away
'Cross the wide Missouri.


'Tis seven years,
I've been a rover,
Away you rolling river,
When I return,
I'll be your lover,
Away, I'm bound away
'Cross the wide Missouri.


Oh Shenandoah,
I'm bound to leave you.
Away you rolling river,
Oh Shenandoah,
I'll not deceive you.
Away, I'm bound away
'Cross the wide Missouri.

I saw the Pines against the white north sky
Very beautiful, and still, and bending over
Their sharp black heads against a quiet sky,
and there was peace in them.

                                                                        ___Rupert Brook



Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death

Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775.

No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony. The questing before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.

Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.

I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House. Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received? Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation; the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motive for it? Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us: they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging. And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves. Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne! In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free-- if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending--if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained--we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us!

They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable--and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace-- but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

In 1778, American Navy Captain John Paul Jones went to France, hoping to persuade the French government to give him a ship to use in the American colonies� rebellion against the British.

Toward that end, he wrote a letter to Monsieur Le Ray de Chaumont, dated November 16, 1778. In it, he said:

       �I wish to have no Connection with any Ship that does not Sail fast
        for I intend to go in harm's way.�

During his engagement with HMS Serapis, Jones uttered, according to the later recollection of his first lieutenant, the legendary reply to a taunt about surrender from the British captain: "I have not yet begun to fight!"