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