dVerse Poets Pub and NaPoWriMo14

copyright kansakura

copyright kansakura

The prompt today is from dVerse Poets Pub is “brother”.  The prompt for NaPoWriMo14 is conversation. I have combined the two.  In this conversation, my father speaks to us and to me. He is the young, cocky kid on the left. Deceptively slow moving and good natured, he won awards for his marksmanship – he was a sniper. He rarely spoke of WWII and never spoke of Gypsy and Pete without weeping.

“…We few, we happy few, we band of brothers, For he today who sheds his blood with me shall be my brother…”
William Shakespeare “Henry V”

魂の兄弟魂の兄弟 – Tamashī no kyōdai – Brothers of the Soul
Who could tell our future
that day in Paris,my 21st birthday .
Standing beside the two of you,
Gypsy and Pete,
Looking into the camera
smiling, assured.
We trained together
and survived Omaha Beach –
When one fell,
The other two would reach down to
raise him up,
Our guns blazing,
Muzzles hot to the touch
and smells of the ocean,
Of blood, of human waste, of death
all around us.
The three of us pushing our way to safety –
Stepping over bodies
and slipping on puddles of blood
on the sand,
and sleeping that night
entwined like puppies
at peace after a day of romp.
Would we have wanted to look
into the future on my birthday
and know that within two weeks
Gypsy and Pete would die.
That I would die at 60 –
My heart exploding in my chest
and sending deadly shrapnel
throughout my body
to kill me within minutes.
That day years ago
the two of you died,
My heart broke within me.
My brothers,
more dear than those left behind
in that small town,
on that poor farm
in Virginia.
that since that day,
Only at the birth of my daughter
would there be someone I would love as much.

June 6, 1944 and My Papa

Many words will be spoken and written about this day. Mine will be brief and personal. My papa was part of the Normandy Invasion. Years later, he barely spoke of all that transpired and that happened to a soft spoken country boy who lied about his age and volunteered for duty. He was 16 but claimed to be 18. Papa’s band of brothers all had names for each other. His was “Country” but not “Country” in a down-putting way. It was a tribute to his slow, Southern speech, his generous heart, and his stubbornness and will to survive. I wrote about some of this in my post when I accepted the Inner Peace award in his memory (http://kanzensakura.com/2013/06/15/inner-peace-award).

He was a sharpshooter. A mild title for a brutal job. The few of his buddies who were able to come to his funeral spoke of him and how his ability often saved their lives, how his sweet smile and prankish behavior saved their souls by making them laugh and forget the hell around them, if only for a moment.

The picture of him (handsome guy on the left) was taken on his 21st birthday in Paris. His two best buddies in the picture with him, died within the next two weeks. We are rapidly losing this Greatest Generation as age and time takes its toll. We have much to thank them for. When we honor our vets, don’t forget to include these men and women in those ceremonies. I have much to be thankful for, but on a personal level. I always think of my papa and am thankful I am his daughter. I have been told I look like him. I’d like to hope I am also share some of the traits that made him such a loving and loveable person. To the Greatest Generation – thank you and God bless you.


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