There is a difference between Memorial Day and Armistice (or Veteran’s) Day, I know; but I felt this recent photo and poem of mine applied. This is a day set aside in the USA to remember and be thankful for all the men and women who, throughout our nation’s history, gave their lives in the service of freedom. War can seem an odd thing to wage for the sake of peace and freedom, but sometimes there is a huge price to pay, because of our human-ness, in order for those things to be achieved. So very many have died for what they believed in and so that others might have the opportunity to exercise the freedoms that are enjoyed today by so many.
As many or more than died, were wounded, some maimed for life, in war. It’s a day set aside to honor all our servicemen and women who died, but every day is a day to remember and be thankful for all we have. This poem is about a man who served in World War I, and was written for a photo prompt challenge.
The Lad With Two Good Eyes
© Paula Tohline Calhoun 2011
When I was a lad I had me two eyes, see –
And there weren’t nothin’ could ever surprise me.
Me Da took me huntin’ for deer and quail –
Hardly a time did my gun an’ me fail.
Wherever I went the lassies would follow,
Somethin’ their laddies found hard to swallow.
But I had a smile, and a winnin’ way –
And was a right smart dancer, least that’s what they’d say.
Never thought much about settlin’ down –
Too much fun bein’ the best bloke in town!
But sooner or later they’d all want a ring,
And expected me to want the same thing.
But I didn’t care what they wanted or thought,
An’ it was never too long before we fought.
So I’d swagger away with me two good eyes
Never was much for farewells or goodbyes.
But the world got in trouble, and went to war,
And I had what me country was lookin’ for:
A fella with two good eyes who could shoot.
So I joined with me mates, and we learned to salute.
They shipped us off with our guns to fight,
Told us to kill, that our cause was right.
So I’d kill when I had to, I saw comrades die,
‘Til an enemy’s bullet took out me left eye.
They fixed what they could, told me I was well,
I got discharged and went home for a spell.
With less of a swagger, an’ not much of a smile,
I roamed through the city for mile after mile.
Some of the lassies who knew me when,
Would stop, smile politely, then hurry off again.
“The kids are home waitin’! Gotta run!” they’d say,
But I could tell they was tryin’ to get away.
The lad with the smile and two good eyes,
The one who could dance, but wanted no ties,
Stands alone in the crowd each Armistice day,
Salutes when the flag is paraded his way.
And when it’s all over, the sun has set,
He ponders the life he has now as a vet.
And remembers when nothin’ caught him by surprise –
That lad with the smile, and two good eyes.
Have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day, and remember.
As always, I wish you all enough. . .