For those of us too young…

“I’ll Be Seeing You”
Jo McDougall
Towns Facing Railroads

World War II is slipping away, I can feel it.
Its officers are gray.
Their wives who danced at the USO
are gray, too.
Veterans forget their stories. Some lands they fought in
have new names, and Linda Venetti
who deserted the husband who raised cows
to run off with an officer
has come home to look after her mother
and work the McDonald’s morning shift.
William Holden is dead,
and my mother, who knew all the words
to “When the Lights Go On Again All over the World.”

I was in college when the 50th anniversary of D-Day happened. I remember my professor saying that this was probably the last big commemoration of World War II that we would celebrate as a country. By the time the 60th anniversary rolled around, he figured, there would not be very many veterans from that war remaining. Having lived through the 60th anniversary, I can say he was right. Both of my veteran uncles are gone, and the veterans pictured in the newspaper on major anniversaries are very, very old.

Another good poem from The Writer’s Almanac.

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