Mimi Palmer Hensley


Flanders Field, Arlington Cemetery, the WALL
hold some of our honored dead, not all;
some of them come to life inside my head
whisper, shout, “never let the World forget”.

The heroic dead make fine companions;
I’m glad to be one of their champions;
while I live, they’ll never go unsung,
nor shall the nation forget what they’ve done.

Spring mornings they’ll never get to see,
sleepless nights, they keep me company
they walk beside me and sigh in my ear,
telling me stories the living should hear.

“I fought against the Kaiser’s Germany.”
“I fell on the beach at Normandy.”
“I rode in the charge up San Juan Hill.”
“Do men remember Valley Forge still?”

Worst of all is “I died a prisoner,
forgotten, alone, after the torture.
Don’t let them leave another guy behind;
make sure POWs are kept in mind.”

Most frequently I hear, “I was a boonie rat,
hard core grunt, door gunner, tunnel rat.”
That was the war that claimed my warrior
though he died slowly and long after.