Born: May 13, 1938
The 17 year old private lay in stinky mud
Sand…guts…bile…terror and blood
The whip-crack of bullets chase him
The bombs bursting in air
He pushes his face through the fear dirt toward the angry sounds
The earth rumbling, growling, biting
There is screaming as men continue to die
There is crazed laughter as men race to die
He sees his buddies hugging the ground as the world shifts and reels
Big white eyes, clenched teeth…set jaws
Mumbled promises for conversion to Christ
But…he sees with pride that they are still crawling forward through the guts and blood
Pulling at the sand, pushing with their knees, kicking with their feet, heads down
But….they know which way is forward.
They know which way is up.
Towards the killing noise, the Spitter of lead and death
The private drags on through a foxhole where 3 GI’s have been
Not enough left though to build a single man
He tears through barbed wire and grins at the tiny pain
“Lot worse things” flying in the air, white hot drops of rain
Bullets bounce in the sand like angry little gnomes, throwing sand in his eyes as a jape
His buddies and he still tugging at the earth….pulling Death to them.
Closer and closer The Reaper comes, his dark blade striking at their heads
But they’ve been trained well…”Keep your heads and asses low!”
The sound is gone, only “THUMP” “BBBAARRRUUMMPPP” “AAIIIEEEEEE!!” “MEDIC!!!””SNAPCRACK!!”…”SNAPCRACK”…………”Mama”….or “Tell my wife… That I love her.”
“I’ve got to get up there” is the privates only thought.
“I’ve got to stop it” is the next.
He sneaks a glance over his shoulder and sees his buddies dragging death down the beach.
He looks at the surf and sees more fish for the barrel…more ducks in a row.
“I’ve got to stop that fucking machine gun”…now he’s angry.
Keller’s on one of them boats, his wife with a baby on the way.
Petrovsky is on one of them boats…a newly-wed and owns a pizza joint in someplace called Philly.
Tex and Bama are on one of them boats, and they owe him money from poker.
“I’ve got to stop it” he says out loud, trying to shout down the “Thump Thump Snap crack”
The Private has reached the lair of the Spitter of death and lead.
Only one crazy thought racing through his blonde Kansas head
“I’m gonna stop it, I’m gonna stop it”
The world explodes, the sand painting the sky, fire reaching and tearing at him.
He didn’t know he could fly….
The white hot rain has stopped on their stretch of beach.
The snap crack has died.
The private lies in the hot dirt….looks at the sky, is it his time?
He feels his helmet slide back, a hand brushing his face…water on his lips and brow.
His vision clears and he sees his buddy over him
A big Jap grin…
It’s the medic Corporal Tonoka…from Mississippi, they all him call Redneck Dink.
It takes a melting pot to create great men
Great men that do the bloody work….because sadly, somebody has to.
And they do it…
Great men that hold up their hand and cry…die for the flag.
Happy Veterans Day….Semper Fi !