WW II Veterans

I’m a ‘cold war’ veteran, too young for Korea and too old for Viet Nam, but whenever I’m out and about and I see a man wearing a WW II, Korean or Viet Nam, veterans, ball cap, I always stop, go up to him, shake his hand and thank him for serving and protecting our way of life.

Two days before Christmas, I was over in Brownwood finishing my shopping and spied a WW II/Korean veteran’s, ball cap and, like I always do, went up to the man and held out my hand. He took my hand and accepted my thanks, then, from out of his coat pocket, he removed a paper and handed it to me. On the paper was a poem that he had written, a brief description of why he wrote it and his picture. This surprised me and I told him about my blog and he said that I could put this on it if I wanted to. Everyone will enjoy this!

Robert W Hickey’s picture shows, among his medals, a Combat Infantryman Badge, Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. In WW II he served with the 19th Infantry Regiment, 24th Division on Mindanao Island, P.I. and was wounded on 12 June 1945 at Mandog Crossing in the hills above Davao.

“I served with the 931st Engineer Aviation Group on Kadena, Okinawa from March, 1950 until April, 1951. The debris of WW II was still scattered all over the island. The day the Korean war started we were taken to the rifle range to reacquaint us with firearms, since they knew we’d be going to Korea. As we rode to the range I watched the waves of the East China Sea rolling into the shore. That night I was assigned Charge-of-Quarters duty which necessitated staying awake all night in the company office to receive visitors and answer telephone calls. There were none of either. In order to pass the time I wrote this poem, “Monuments Of Battle”

“Monuments Of Battle”
“The coral reef still guards the beach
There we once fought to land.
The endless waves still pound and beat
Upon the ageless sand.
The sun still shines upon the palms
And the jungle echoes with a million songs.
The world goes on with life and love
With never a thought to us above.”

“It was a beautiful place,
This sunny south sea isle,
A land of joy and happiness
When the Gods of peace did smile.
A land not meant for battle fields,
A name known only to a few
That would fill a book of history
Ere our bloody task were through.”

“The landing craft that charged the beach,
Thrusting through the spray,
Sit and rust upon the reef
Where they were tossed that day.
The rusty blade of a bayonet,
Broken and cast aside,
Lies in the sand and marks the spot
Where a brave man fell and died.”

“An empty clip from a carbine,
The stock of an old M-1,
The rusty bottom of a canteen cup
Reflecting the light of the sun.
These are our markers, our gravestones,
Our monuments left behind,
That will follow their makers back to the dust
As our deeds fade from the mind.”