I only got to meet him
through photographs tucked away
smiling faces on shiny black and whites
with heartfelt messages written on the backs.
He looked so young and handsome
in the uniform he wore
and the words he wrote of
was getting on and getting back home to her.
The war had taken all of them
six from their mother’s heart
and the youngest Joe has a white cross marker
somewhere in the heart of France.
There’s a fold-out picture album
of the six of them so brave
Second World War, Army, Navy
in age order they are laid.
The others returned home with their stories
Eddie had survived D-Day.
He received a commendation a few years before he died
but he lived with the ghosts and terror
while he was alive.
Gus, the oldest, I really didn’t know
I had met him only twice.
His wife still lives in Illinois
getting on in age.
Frank and John were your
regular kind of guys
wanting the best for you
but you better toe-the-line.
Al did get home to her;
they married on a week-end leave.
Three children later and a loving home
was all he ever needed.
But the ending of the story –
he had to move on to someplace better;
she’s joined him too
The photographs do tell the story
of six brothers and their lives
every once and again we take that stroll
down memory lane
and they live again.
©Copyright January 30, 2003 by Janet Rattay