the greatest generation goes to war by Scot Young

–for dad


tom brokaw said you were from the
greatest generation but you went 4F
instead of being inducted with yr brothers
instead of storming the beach at normandy…
the army said not acceptable for military service
you were not good enough
to be first to die when they dropped the ramp

the greatest generation didn’t talk about the war
and your stories were never discussed
you disappeared for weeks on induction day
never dropped the ramp to hit the beach
or ever stopped to let others aboard
but spent next 50 odd years going 4F
drowning in the land of sky blue waters
most days after work wrapping
yourself around a can or bottle
trying to forget or was it
to remember?

every other saturday we would get a haircut
at joe’s & stop in at the hangout bar  for a couple
you sat at the table when you had me
go along—wasn’t right for a kid
to sit at a bar you’d say…
at age seven I asked you once
daddy what did you do in the war?
you swirled your beer in the glass
those blue eyes narrowed
looking right through me
drank it down
ordered another
asked me if i wanted another coke…
and don’t tell your mother
we were here

they say you never ask
the greatest generation about the war
the ones that made it back will take
the stories to their grave
the ones that never made it
will do the same
every single day


6 Responses to “the greatest generation goes to war by Scot Young”

  1. I like this poem , Scot, and so true.

  2. ad winans Says:

    My father was declared 4-F in the war. He wanted to serve his country badly and was crushed by being turned down. Assholes like Cheney on the other hand were all too glad to have the privilege of not having to serve.

  3. Very strong poem, Scot.

  4. priceless…

  5. Thanks all for the comments

  6. Rex Sexton Says:

    Great poem about the greatest generation and they were. It wasn’t all “me” then and “where’s mine?” “Where’s mine” could mean a shared wound, which is another kind of wound – of the heart. They had those, too.

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