Sunday, November 11, 2018

VETERANS DAY

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, one hundred years ago today, "The Great War" as it was known at the time, ended. Before there was a second "great war" so they ended up being known by their numbers, the end of the first one, World War One, was known as Armistice Day, i.e. the day The Great War ended and there was finally peace among the warring countries.

When I was a boy during and after the second one, World War Two, most adults still called November 11th Armistice Day. The boarder who lived in my home when I was growing up, an old friend of my father's, was a veteran of WWI, a "doughboy" as they were known. His nickname was "Jockey" cause he was a very small man. Another friend of theirs who was in WWI was nicknamed "Frenchy" cause he made it to Paris after the war.

My three brothers who made it to adulthood (another died as an infant) and me, we all served in the military, me the longest (four years), and a lot of the men in my neighborhood did. Here's a poem I wrote about that, from "The South Orange Sonnets" and in my latest book: Another Way To Play:

18

At first the world’s great heroes were FDR
Churchill and Uncle Joe Stalin. The block
hero was FLYING ACE who shot down Krauts

on a seven inch screen. One brother served
with the Navy Band, one with the US Army
Air Corps. Before TV we sat through Sunday
matinees with newsreel footage of Nazi war
crimes. The boarder in our house had been
a dough boy in World War I. We called him

uncle. My third brother worked on tanks in
Germany during the Korean thing. I joined
the Air Force on February eighth 1962. I
went AWOL July fourth 
1962. For a long time
no one we knew ever went away a civilian.

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