Friday, October 4, 2013

The Final Wound and No Purple Heart

This was the epitome of callous ingratitude: The images of men who fought for this country in World War II and in the late winter of their lives, mere shadows of their youthful selves to pay final homage to those comrades who died on the battlefields or who, by the grace of God, training, or just luck, survived and returned only through the years to be beaten by the most relentless general of them all--General Old Age--who awaits all of us (see poem General Old Age on being turned away by government barricades under the guise of a government shutdown should outrage us all. The President who was supposed to bring us together has turned out to be the most partisan, divisive president we have ever seen. Whether you supported Obama or not, this trip for these brave men could well at their ages be their last. Shame on you President Obama, shame! To try to force the House to capitulate to your demands by using these veterans as pawns is outrageous. My father served in the U.S.Navy in World War II and saw action in Operation Typhoon, the invasion of Okinawa, the bloodiest and deadliest battle the United States Navy in which 4907 sailors lost their lives. Thank God he died at 87 in Petersburg, Alaska an was not alive to witness this travesty: 

The Final Wound and No Purple Heart 
The endured in the ice and snow, rubbled cities, muddy fields, desert sands and the monsoon rains and jungle rot
And throughout it all they grabbed their M-1s, closed the hatches, climbed aboard to soldier on and as citizen soldiers fought
Waded through the bloody Tarawa waters, Pelileu’s coral reefs and deadly MG 42 caressed Omaha Beach
Festung Europa, Shuri Line. Gustav, les bocage, Siegfried, not a barrier or barricade they could not breach
They crossed the Rhine, jumped too many times into harm’s way from the sky
All the time watching too many Purple Hearts earned, too many men to die
In thin khaki or steel ships and tanks, wooden Higgins or gliders or aluminum planes
Fought and bled and died as youthful hopes and dreams interrupted and detrained
And now in the late winter of their lives, mere shadows of their former  youth in a final parade
A maybe final, slow, halting, hobbling march to an open air Memorial guarded with a fresh barricade
They fought, bled and died so this Republic would endure
A right to vote, consent of the governed and free debate to insure
Only to become pawns in a childish my-way-or-the--highway game
As each, yes each, side plays the photo opt and talking heads defame
But a Memorial closed  by a government only to score points  that on this day turned its back
A sacrilege of these vets’ honor and sacrifice, totally off base and on a despised track
A group of Red House members moved the barriers so aging vets did not have to depart
Images on this sad October day of final wounds, but without even debt of final Purple Hearts.
© October 3, 2013 Michael P. Ridley aka the Alaskanpoet,

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