"That We May Not Forget" by Frederic Cardoze

Bookended as it was between two world wars, the interwar period of 1918 to 1939 was a time of dramatic fluctuation. From the Roaring Twenties to the Great Depression, and from the dismantling of empires to the rise of communism, feelings of hope and patriotism commingled with the horrors of memory and the dread that something even worse was on the horizon.

Such was the national and global mood when a plucky young writer was making a name for himself. Frederic T. Cardoze, of whom the National Bell Festival could find little biographical detail, was a journalist in upstate New York. He was credentialed by the Legislative Correspondents' Association of the State of New York to access happenings at the state capitol.

Early in his career, he authored a “History of the Police Department of Troy, N.Y., from 1786 to 1902.” For a time, he wrote for the Syracuse Post-Standard. He then served as head of the Albany bureau of the International News Service. But while the news paid the bills, his passion was poetry. 

Cardoze penned verses and stanzas and submitted them for publication at various outlets. It even appears that Cardoze collaborated with John Philip Sousa, the prolific American composer, on lyrics for a new march for the U.S. Navy in 1918. 

Recurring themes of life in the military, of loss and sacrifice, that appear in his work suggest Cardoze may have served in World War I. For a poem published in The New York National Guardsman (Feb. 1930) entitled “The Pacifist,” he poses a father arguing against his son’s enlistment in contradistinction to a battle-hardened captain. At another time, he drafted lyrics for “Comrades in Arms,” music for bass by Reginald de Koven. 

Further evidence that Cardoze had spent time in Europe, likely during the fog of war, is his familiarity with the carillon – an instrument endemic to the Low Countries, but one which had not yet gained widespread adoption in America. Sometime before 1925, Cardoze wrote a poem that captured the suitability of carillon bells in memorializing the fallen. His words are reprinted below.

Composite image of Frederic Cardoze and journalist peers

Image: Frederic T. Cardoze, lower left, in a composite image of journalist peers printed in The New York Red Book, 1920.

"That We May Not Forget"

Frederic T. Cardoze

That we may not forget the lives they gave,
Let deep bells sing the anthems of the brave.

Let carillons now color Heaven’s fleece
With vibrant tone, like some old masterpiece.

In noble wind-swept belfries, rising high
Up toward the blue and silver of the sky,

Aloud: let every singing tower rejoice,
As can no shaft of stone denied a voice!

Like souls awakened shall the echoes seem,
Afloat upon life’s ever-moving stream.

Sweet solace bringing all who hear their tone
Until at last, the spirit song has flown.

Soft in the twilight to the resting throng
Shall sound the carillon in evensong;

And in such music those who hear will know
That they still live who perished long ago.

Cover image: The sun sets behind the Abdijtoren de Lange Jan (Abbey Tower of Long John), home to a 49-bell carillon in Middelburg, The Netherlands.