America's Welcome Home


World War I poem from the collection Poems of American Patriotism (1922), chosen by Brander Matthews.
van Dyke's preface:
[Sidenote: November 11, 1918] When the fighting ceased there were two million American soldiers in France.

America's Welcome Home
US Troops homeward bound on USS Ohioan, 1919
Oh, gallantly they fared forth in khaki and in blue,
  America's crusading host of warriors bold and true;
  They battled for the rights of man beside our brave Allies,
  And now they're coming home to us with glory in their eyes.
  Oh, it's home again, and home again, America for me!
  Our hearts are turning home again and there we long to be,
  In our beautiful big country beyond the ocean bars,
  Where the air is full of sunlight and the flag is full of stars.
  Our boys have seen the Old World as none have seen before.
  They know the grisly horror of the German gods of war:
  The noble faith of Britain and the hero-heart of France,
  The soul of Belgium's fortitude and Italy's romance.
  They bore our country's great word across the rolling sea,
  "America swears brotherhood with all the just and free."
  They wrote that word victorious on fields of mortal strife,
  And many a valiant lad was proud to seal it with his life.
  Oh, welcome home in Heaven's peace, dear spirits of the dead!
  And welcome home ye living sons America hath bred!
  The lords of war are beaten down, your glorious task is done;
  You fought to make the whole world free, and the victory is won.
  Now it's home again, and home again, our hearts are turning west,
  Of all the lands beneath the sun America is best.
  We're going home to our own folks, beyond the ocean bars,
  Where the air is full of sunlight and the flag is full of stars.

Featured in our collection of World War I Literature


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