Peter James Lantz
West Point, 1966
Be Thou At Peace
Posted by Ed Wright on March 19, 2009:
Pete and I started off together as Plebes in H-2, euphemistically and ironically nicknamed "Happy Deuce"; it was not. When we Plebes would gather together on a Saturday in the Fall or Winter, the ultimate greyness of it all was overwhelming which we alleviated by exchanging miseries and each composing more terrible fates for vexatious upperclassmen and more beautiful recollections that always seemed to begin "Before I came here ... ." Pete excelled in these and as a group we implemented several of his more inventive schemes against particularly troublesome of our tormentors. We accepted the group punishments as being more than worth the special attention. Looking back, the four years of cadet life raced by, the war was upon us as we trained and Pete became one of the 10 classmates pictured in the 10 July '67 issue of Newsweek still as a butterbar (We had all been promoted to First Lieutenant on 8 June) "... slogging through the mud at Pleiku en route to the 173rd Airborne". He was one of the more than half a million spears hurled at our foes in Vietnam that year. And Pete was taken from us but five months later. Years after, I happened to read Robert Frost's poem "A Soldier"; memories of Pete Lantz immediately flooded my mind:
He is that fallen lance that lies as hurled,
That lies unlifted now, come dew, come rust,
But still lies pointed as it plowed the dust.
If we who sight along it round the world,
See nothing worthy to have been its mark,
It is because like men we look too near,
Forgetting that as fitted to the sphere,
Our missiles always make too short an arc.
They fall, they rip the grass, they intersect
The curve of earth, and striking, break their own;
They make us cringe for metal-point on stone.
But this we know, the obstacle that checked
And tripped the body, shot the spirit on
Further than target ever showed or shone.
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