[Nameplate] Fair ~ 75°F  
High: 90°F ~ Low: 72°F
Monday, Sep. 1, 2014

Your View: War memories

Monday, December 15, 2008

At Arlington

At Arlington - in that big ol' place called Washington, D.C.
Decrepit handfuls of buddies become heroes - even me.
Yes, we helped win that big ol' war - but that was long ago.
Now several million heroes cannot make it to the show.
Today - they made a hero out of me
Way up here - at Arlington - in Washington, D.C.
A cotton-pickin' kid, from Floodway, Arkansas
Finally made the "big time" - in spite of all!
Some of the "big boys" have big, fancy stones
Wonder if that makes a difference - now?
Feelings not describable, at tomb of the unknowns,
Suffered by almost silent, unending crowds.
Deathly silent stones, row after row
Mutely shout the cost of freedom's rule
Anyone not hauntingly moved after seeing
Must surely be alien, or ungrateful fool.
Today - they made a hero out of me
Way up here - at Arlington - in Washington, D.C.
A cotton-pickin' kid, from Floodway, Arkansas
Finally made the "big time" - in spite of all!

Frances Marion "Pop" Jones died in the Battle of the Bulge, December 1944. He carried the base-plate to the 81 mm mortar. I was number one gunner. His frozen body was placed at end of on of several frozen bodies. This was our first effort at pushing the Germans back where they came from, and farther, during Battle of the Bulge. Beginning of the end.

Marlin Arron "Junior" Bell died in April 1945, Battle of Europe. We never saw each other "over there" but he lived just south of where I lived and could throw a baseball or softball faster than anyone. He had a signed contract for war's end pitching with the St. Louis Browns.

The blue-eyed, German, "kid soldier" was never known. He was lying dead and frozen on other side of a hedgerow I had to crawl through. We were face to face when I stuck my head through to the other side. We looked at each other but I finally decided he couldn't see me.

I don't know about everyone else, but the complete G.H. Starnes never made it back from "over there"! The above is just part of the memories.

Dedicated to my "adopted kids," Rob and Donna.

Many thanks from the Floodway Kid,

Jack Britt