I was going through some papers from Mom’s drawer at her nursing home- and found a very yellowed letter recognizing Dad’s handwriting. I proceeded to read, wiping tears, on this Memorial Day Weekend. He was 21 years old when he wrote this from Okinawa, one of the bloodiest battle sites of WW II. In memorium:
“”Medic, over here”! I grab my aid bag.
Making my way to one who died today.
The flies find him before I do, glutting on the blood seeping from lacerated flesh. How easily a man’s life may be severed.
How futile my attempt to restore. I can’t stay, there is another who I may help.
So I cover the dead flesh from the indecency of the flies
But death never is decent…
Time that seems like forever but is only an hour
Brings a drill to the ___carnage, the writers call it.
Like in the movies we sat and watched in another life,
Only here they didn’t die quietly, murmuring the name of a woman
Here they did cursing and blackening the name of the God that permitted this.
No heroes here, heroes are myths of man’s stupid
This is real. These men had no wish to be heroes.
Eventually, nights bring some cessation of noise and death
It can’t blanket the puking acrid smell of cordite
The stink of rotting flesh.
No dream of home now, dreams can’t exist in the presence of Death.
Tomorrow, tomorrow brings only the hope of “will I get mine tomorrow”
Maybe I’ll be another med for the flies,
I wonder- but not for long
Sleep brings a temporary opiate
Only Dying is Permanent!…”
We are soo grateful he survived severe injuries, thrived and went on to raise a family with Mom! and to be there for his grandchildren.
Dad died of chronic leukemia after being named a “medical miracle” multiple times. RIP