Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Heroes of August: Remembering V-J Day

Omaha Beach Memorial Cemetery
Photograph by Kim Williams

August 2016 marks the 71st anniversary
of V-J Day (August 15, 1945) when the fighting
against the forces of the Empire
of Japan ended during WWII.

Look On Heroes With Pride

Please don't look upon my aging warriors with
disrespect and disdain.
They're our forgotten treasures, with backs now
bent and racked with pain.
Children of the Depression, they had few pleasures
when they were boys,
Never complaining or grumbling, because they
didn't have any toys.

They too were very young once, full of mischief
and full of play
Just as most young children are, on this very
peaceful day.
Many left school at 16, their families needed
help to survive,
They stopped being children and went to work,
at jobs from nine to five.

Then one December day, their lives would take
another disturbing turn.
They would go to war, from which many of
them would never return.
They didn't shirk their duty, protest or run away
to some foreign land;
They rushed instead, to volunteer, to give their
country a much-needed hand.

They landed on Normandy beach, midst thousands
of shells and enemy landmines.
Young boys' bodies torn apart by enemy fire, for
America, this had to be the worst of times.
Some were proud Marines at bloody Guadalcanal,
where we lost many a brave boy.
Or, with the Navy during the battle of the Pacific,
that brought the Japanese no joy.

They fought on strange islands called Tarawa,
Eniwetok, and Saipan to name a few,
Repelling screaming Japanese suicide charges,
experiencing fears that boys never knew.
They were on board the Enola Gay
that dropped the big bomb that fateful day.
That shortened the war and sent our boys home,
home safely from the frightening foray.

They left close friends behind, in graves, far
away from their homes and family.
So many brothers, sons and beloved fathers who
gave their lives so willingly.
Under thousands of white crosses they lie, in
lines so very straight and true.
Boys who sacrificed their lives, to make the
world safer for me and you.

At war's end, they returned home, to work the
farms and factories once more
To make this country so great and powerful, that
we would never again have to go to war.
If you want to see them smile again, with bodies
ramrod straight and full of pride
Just parade Old Glory by, recite the national 
anthem or blow "Taps" at a friend's graveside.

So, when you see old heroes who gave so
much and suffered so much pain
Look upon them with pride, for we may never
see their like pass by this way again.
Written by Carlo Piccolo

General Eisenhower with American troops
during the D-Day Invasion
June 6, 1944

On August 7, 1942
 United States Marines landed on
Guadalcanal, one of the southern Solomon Islands
in the South Pacific to battle Japanese forces
occupying the island. 

This post is dedicated to the
boys who became the gallant men of
this greatest generation, the
heroes of the United States Armed Forces,
  many of whom are now gone from
this earth. 
To those who are still with us,
thank you for your service to America
and for my freedom!

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