When he dove into the water
To save the drowning child,
He never thought of a reward,
Other than the child's smile.

But a tearful, grateful father
Gave the young man cause to sing,
When he thanked him and he blest him,
With a costly diamond ring.


He never could have bought that ring,
A one carat gem without a flaw,
Its price too high for the likes of him,
He looked at the ring with awe.

A fool in love, folks said he was,
When he got down on bended knee,
And gave the ring with love and trust
To his promised bride to be.

The ring sparkled on her finger,
As she held it out with pride,
Placed there to wear forever,
Along with smiles she could not hide.

The ring sat with elegance,
Upon her velvet skin,
Its facets gleamed and glimmered,
And shone from deep within.


Meant to stay, and so it did,
For many, many years,
It saw her through a lifetime,
Of happiness and tears.

The only time she did not wear it,
The only time it left her hand,
Was when she hid it in her bodice,
When the Civil War began.

She hid the ring from rowdy rebels,
To protect it - her crusade,
And because she was so clever,
The precious ring was saved.

She wore the ring until her death,
When it gently was slipped off
And then, with care, was put away
In a tiny, velvet box.


For years it sat upon a shelf,
Out of sight and out of mind,
Till one day, an old man took it down,
He knew that it was time.

A grandson's sweet, young bride,
Now claimed the treasured ring,
Which had not lost its sparkle,
And again made two hearts sing.

The ring went through some peaceful years,
Then sadly through another war,
World War One had now begun,
But by God's grace, it soon was o'er.

Though her husband died in combat,
The lady managed to hang on,
And the ring stayed upon her finger,
Where it truly did belong.


Ever mindful of its heritage,
She held the ring in high esteem,
And with a modest dignity,
She proudly wore the ring.

She wore the ring till she was old,
It nearly slipped from her withered hand,
She passed it on to her daughter then,
To be " worn with pride" - her last demand.

The ring had now become a symbol
Of women with backbone,
Thus, anyone who wore that ring
Was someone who could hold her own.

Another generation now,
And the ring was still intact,
How long had it been around?
By now, folks had lost track.


World War Two ... another war,
The ring now upon a nurse's hand,
It brought her loving thoughts of home,
When she touched its golden band.

The Korean War; then Viet Nam,
More wars on down the line,
The ring passed on and on again,
Forever it would shine.

Though deemed a valued heirloom,
It was never locked away,
Now it graced a typist's finger,
As she did her job each day.

As she rode the subway into work,
The ring gleamed upon her hand,
It gave her such a sense of worth,
One had to see to understand.


Of course, she wore it on the morning
Of that crisp September day,
When the world forever changed,
And people were betrayed.

That day she smiled at her cohorts,
As their elevator rose,
To the eightieth floor in Tower One,
Her fate now sealed and closed.

In the aftermath of Nine/Eleven,
Who knew how many died?
And who knew just who was who,
And how to be identified?

But in the ashes and the rubble,
Happened an amazing thing,
A reflection and a flash of light
Revealed a diamond ring.


A grieving husband claimed the ring,
Given him, after much ado,
He brought it home to his little girl,
"Honey - here's Mommy's ring for you."

Though too young to understand,
The pretty bauble made her smile,
The ring then was held in trust,
For this most precious child.

Thus, on and on, the ring was passed,
Generation to generation,
And with it came an unwritten tale,
Of a history of a nation.

It never was 'just a ring,' you know,
It was a sign of strength and pride,
And as long as it remained,
It meant a family still survived.

~ Virginia (Ginny) Ellis ~
September 2005


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The midi file playing
is the lovely work of Margi Harrell.