Charging over the hill in their blues,
up the beach and over the barricade.
Bayonets piercing the hearts
of confederate uniforms; the old guard.
The proud men of the 54th Massachusetts.
The American flag pushes forward into battle.
Stars and stripes moving forward with change,
but Col. Robert Shaw, above his men,
falling opposite the assaulting charge
with his fading voice signaling to advance.
More than a war cry,
But a cry for freedom.
Assaulting Fort Wagner to the sounds
of crashing waves in the background.
Waves never heard over the cannon fire.
The 54th storming over the wall.
The 54th Massachusetts Regiment,
of freemen and runaways,
charging forward over the beach.
Over comrades and enemies alike,
272 fell, raising the American flag.
Not in victory.
272 fell, to get freedom to rise.