Veteran’s Day Ode

Pop enlisted as soon as he could,

itching like the fellas did back then

to get over there and show what

he was made of.  But WWII was done,

and at the base in San Diego he kept

his shoes shined, his chest out, and his

cap just right of center, at least in the

pictures he sent to his mother, who sighed.

He wanted to be like his brother who

never spoke of the Purple Heart or the

terror that preceded it, or the bile that

rose to the back of his throat to the end

of his days whenever a door slammed

or a car backfired. Without a war to prove

his mettle, he never was known as a veteran.

But he was ready, by God.  He was ready.   

We hung his PFC picture on the Honor

Wall at the retirement home, and he gave

us an earful on why he didn’t deserve a place

among the real soldiers, but it stayed there

‘til after the funeral, and I like to think that

on his good days, he might have looked at

that handsome man with the twinkling eyes

and smiled back, proud that he had tried.

©Dana Hughes 11.12.21

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