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Softly Call the Muster, Gently Call the Roll

Neal Dikeman '98 September 17, 2021 10:54 AM updated: September 17, 2021 11:24 AM

Softly Call the Muster, Gently Call the Roll

By Neal M. Dikeman, Class of '98
Written on Muster’s Eve, April 20, 2013, the year of the birth of my daughter

Softly call the Muster, gently call the Roll.
Another year is passing, time will take her toll.
My family is remembered, as I’ll be remembered too.
Remember me my brethren; I am remembering you.

Softly call the Muster, gently call the Roll, a century of thoughts and prayers, lifted once a year.
I know them not; I’ve never met; we are connected still.
Each year on Aggie Muster, my mind with thoughts will fill.
I never go; they do not know; they never see I do.
But decades hence when I have passed, they shall remember too.
It leaves me feeling sad and bright, emotions flowing free.
Remembrance, tears, hopes and fears and finally joy I see.
Softly Call the Muster, Gently Call the Roll, tomorrow comes the rising sun, and memories held dear.

Muster always chokes me up, to the very verge of tears. Reminds that times go marching on and lessens mortal fears.
When asked to tell the Muster tale, it’s hard to put in words the Roll Call of the Absent when we Celebrate our Dead.
We’ll Call the Roll of those we’ve lost, and someone answers “Here”. Just because we cannot hear your call, does not mean you’re not There.
That does not hardly even touch its awesome thrilling hold for me. Does not show the chills I feel. Or show the peace that makes it real. To know on us when once we die, on far flung future minds we’ll lie.

That much, this year I know, and when, tomorrow, as all years before, just whisper of these words alone will choke me up again:
“Softly call the Muster, gently call the Roll.
Another year is passing, time will take her toll.
My family is remembered, as I’ll be remembered too.
Remember me my brethren; I am remembering you.”

For Gwendolyn Piper Dikeman, Class of ‘2035 (and now Clara Neena Lynn Dikeman, Class of ‘2037), Dr. Rebecca Dikeman Turney, Class of ’01, Dr. Matthew M. Dikeman, Jr. Class of ‘68.

In remembrance of Matthew M. Dikeman, Sr., Class of ’36 (Aggie Muster, April 21, 1986) & All those I do not know who Muster this year, and those for 130 years before.



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