I’ve been spending the last hour or so reading Memorial Day poems and stories – everything from tributes to fallen soldiers to remembrances of past and current war heroes that served and continue to serve our country proudly.
Words of undying love, gratitude and sorrow. Mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, all sharing tales of their personal heroes.
I came across a poem that brought back a personal memory of my hero…my Dad, who served in the Korean War.
Being the inquisitive little girl that I was, I’d ask my Dad to show me the pictures he had of his time spent in Korea and tell me what it was like; what he ate, where he slept, and even about the bugs and spiders I would imagine there being lots of over there…
But one question I would ask time and time again, never getting an answer too was, “Dad, did you ever kill anybody?”
He’d nonchalantly pull out another picture and continue on talking about the tin cans he ate from or reminisce about his troops like he never even heard me ask…all together avoiding the question.
My Dad passed away this past Christmas and the answer to my question was buried with him.
Sadly, he did say once that one of his buddies was blown up directly in front of him one day walking across a bridge…that was all he said and I could tell not to question him any further.
Now that I’m older, I try to understand how terrifying it must have been for my Dad and the rest of his troops to be on foreign soil fighting not only for their lives, but the lives of their buddies and for all of us here back home.
Below is a poem that depicts the raw emotion of one hero in his own, gut-wrenching words of yet another added element to the war we don’t think about…
I’m almost sure, this reflects the very agonizing reason of why my Dad, my hero never answered my question…
Sgt. Lenihan was wounded in action and later received a Purple Heart. He never spoke with his family about the emotions he experienced during war, and they were very surprised to find this poem. Towards the end of Lenihan’s life, he actively sought out his old war buddies and described his time serving as one of the “worst and greatest experiences” of his life.
The DCoE Blog Team thanks the Lenihan family for allowing us to share this poem with our readers. We hope it helps you in your personal healing process, or those with whom you work or love.
I shot a man yesterday
And much to my surprise,
The strangest thing happened to me
I began to cry.
He was so young, so very young
And Fear was in his eyes,
He had left his home in Germany
And came to Holland to die.
And what about his Family
were they not praying for him?
Thank God they couldn’t see their son
And the man that had murdered him.
I knelt beside him
And held his hand–
I begged his forgiveness
Did he understand?
It was the War
And he was the enemy
If I hadn’t shot him
He would have shot me.
I saw he was dying
And I called him “Brother”
But he gasped out one word
And that word was “Mother.”
I shot a man yesterday
And much to surprise
A part of me died with Him
When Death came to close
On this Memorial Day, let us remember what so many brave men and women have given up to keep us free and safe but more importantly, the conditions they endure to ensure us of that.
On this day for many of our American heroes, unimaginable memories surface that are deeply seared into the very core of their hearts, minds and souls.
We see what war does on the outside, but I think we’re unable to fathom what war does on the inside…deep inside.
God, please Bless each and everyone of our heroes, current and past.
My Hero-My Dad-Leamon Waseity served in the Korean War 1950-1952. The greatest Dad ever. Love and miss you…
Leave your heartfelt thoughts and thanks below…