Local woman’s poem part of memorial in nation’s capital

Published 1:14 am Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A monument honoring the American Gold Star Mothers will feature a poem written by a local woman.

That plaque will be displayed in Washington, D.C., and be part of a display that also features a statue, said Marsha Burks-Megehee. Burks-Megehee’s poem will be featured on the plague.

On a whim, Burks-Megehee said she wrote the poem and sent it to the organization’s Web site about five years ago and thought nothing more of it. About five months ago she received a call in which she was told that two verses of the poem had been selected to be on the plague.

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“I thought at first it was someone playing a joke on me,” Burks-Megehee said.

Gold Star Mothers is an organization of mothers who have lost sons or daughters during military service. In about two years, the organization will be honored for its service and patriotism with a monument in Washington DC. When the monument is finished and unveiled, which will be on Gold Star Mother’s Sunday, Burks-Megehee said she will be in attendance. Gold Star Mother’s Sunday is on the last Sunday in September.

Burks-Megehee said this honor will be around long enough for her grandchildren and great-grand children to see.

A number of her other poems have been published in other meda, she said. Burks-Megehee has had two poems printed in Purple Heart Magazine, and one poem published on the Special Forces Website and another poem, “Memorial Day,” has been included in Kansas City’s Memorial Day Observance program for the past seven years, just to name a few.

Burks-Megehee estimates she has written about 150 poems in her lifetime.

Replicas of the plague to be displayed in Washington will be sold and she plans to purchase one and present it to the City of Picayune.

“I want our town to have one,” Burks-Megehee said.

She said inspiration for her poems, which focus on subjects such as military service, prisoners of war, recent events and 9-11, came in part from God, her father Delos Burks and her uncles. Burks-Megehee said her father and her uncles all served in the military and had been in wars, so patriotism runs high in her family. It was not until Delos Burks was in his 80s that he shared stories of the war with her, which could be the basis for some of her poems, she said.

She also is a member of the National Alliance of Families for the Return of America’s Missing Servicemen. Each year she sends in a couple of her poems, which they usually print in their programs for the regular meetings. The aim of the organization is to shed light on the estimated 300 POWs that some believe are surviving overseas today.