Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Memorial Day in Durham, NC

Jamais plus la guerre!

“Jamais plus la guerre!”

this call for “no more war”
rises within me as I stand
at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial here in Durham,
I bring some flowers to mark Memorial Day,
and I lose myself in prayer for a bit,

as I stand before the brick with my brother’s name,
I think of the young men sacrificed in that war,
sacrificed to a wrong vision of the world,

my brother Clarence was drafted,
and, after Tet, quickly processed to get bodies in the field,
he hated that war and saw no sense in it,
around Saigon he saw the French phrase
“Jamais plus la guerre” written everywhere,
he wrote me and asked me to march against the war, for him,

having grown up as a Baby Boomer,
World War II has shouted at me
of the morality of resisting Hitler and Imperial Japan,
though, even then, necessity seems more real than glory,

I hear in “Jamais plus la guerre”
the imperative to save our young people
from such horrors if such ways can open,
too often leaders act as if they’re playing a game,
a game for which the sacrificed pawns pay the price.

by Henry H. Walker
May 28, ‘18

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