Knowlt Hoheimer by Edgar Lee Masters

I was the first fruit of the battle of Missionary Ridge.
When I felt the bullet enter my heart
I wished I had staid at home and gone to jail
For stealing the hogs of Curl Trenary,
Instead of running away and joining the army.
Rather a thousand times the county jail
Than to lie under this marble figure with wings,
And this granite pedestal
Bearing the words, "Pro Patria."
What do they mean, anyway?

--from Spoon River Anthology

"What do they mean, anyway? They mean, 'For one's country.' Any country at all."

US Ambassador Horlick Minton

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