Monday, May 28, 2018

A Memorial Day Poem by the Editor-in-Chief

D-Day Lessons Learned

"D-Day" Watercolor on Paper
By J. Artemus Gordon
When the gate of the amphibious craft doth fall
Go over the sides not through the opening at all
Where dost thou think they have been training
Their guns all this time in all this waiting?

Toilet paper is but a target white and plain
Hold it not over thy head lest bullets rain
Upon thee. For thus thou wilt be slain
And never wipe thy arse again.

Through the concussion of the din
And muffled horror of thy war within
Captain thou must take command
Should it fall to thee upon the sand.

If shot in thy head let thy helmet take it
Leave it there--do not forsake it!
Take it off and friend thou wilt not make it
Back to see thy home again.

--Steven Wittenberg Gordon, MD
  Former USAF Flight Surgeon

Poet’s Notes:  The D-Day scene from Saving Private Ryan is required viewing in officer training school.  It is considered by the military to be the most realistic depiction of the horrors faced by an invading force ever made.  It may be viewed here (WARNING--the content is graphically violent and not for the faint of heart) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mT3q8tba_lw.

I watched it for the first time in an auditorium filled with newly minted airmen who were, as was I, sporting freshly shaven heads, still not comfortable in our uniforms.  I held back the urge to vomit as I watched the depiction of another group of men sporting freshly shaven heads, many still not comfortable in their uniforms, charging headlong into a nightmare, the only cover their overwhelming numbers--each other.  

I did my best to absorb the lessons I needed to learn from the film.  Four of those lessons are described in my poem, which I dedicate to my fallen brothers and sisters in arms on this Memorial Day.  May their memory be a blessing.

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