Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I hope you all had a restful Monday--it was Memorial Day here in the USA, and I thought of my Grandpa--Reed Allender--who served with honor and distinction during WWII, and received a Purple Heart, and a Silver Star.He was a fighter in the famous "Battle of the Bulge", and at Normandy! Grandpa was also the inspiration for one of my first poems(written in 1997)"Hitler's Hands", which you can read, below.
My Uncle Lee, married to my Daddy, (J.R.)'s younger sister, (my lovely, talented Aunt Carolyn) is another person still on my mind, as he served two tours of duty during the Vietnam War. When he was finally allowed to return home, Uncle Lee was awarded the Bronze Star for Bravery.He would've been awarded the Silver Star, except he was not wounded in the battle(a requirement for receiving the Silver Star ) in which he saved several fellow soldiers from certain death!
It suddenly struck me, when speaking to my Daddy last night on the phone(we talked exclusively about war,(and all the various satellite-channels which are focused on war--apparently, there is a "Pentagon Channel" I did not even know existed!)that when we say we are grateful for soldiers' sacrifices and soldiers' families sacrifices, that it must not be limited to "good" or "honorable" wars. All wars kill people, and I believe all wars lessen our humanity. But it struck me suddenly, that even though we(the USA) should never have asked our young people to fight in that Vietnam War(and many others!), for the ones willing to do so--to do what they were asked, to willingly DIE because their country asked them to lay down their life--that ability to risk all, for one's country, that is something to admire.
Here's to veterans, and to their sacrifice--the ones still here to read this, and those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
And here's to Peace--there's no conflict in mentioning Peace, here, because what better way to honor those who thought they were "Keeping the peace" or "Promoting peace", than to actually make living in harmony, a goal?

President Obama's nominee, and WHY she should be approved, immediately--and with no backtalk, from Republicans:

Here's my poem I mentioned in this entry. This poem was published online by the journal, Gravity, a few years ago.:
Hitler's Hands

His hands touched this
an unblinking serious blue eye
watches me as I peer at this object
this thing of death:
an iron cross,
tainted by a touch.

I tremble as I reach for it,
imagine frightened dark eyes
look up from their graves
if they got a grave
peer out of dark ovens
I see white specks on earth
too ashen to be snow.
I hear voices in the specks
still speak of dark days,
darker nights
and a world so busy
those voices worry it, this world, will forget.

But I remember
1942 and Bergen-Belsen
a young girl’s diary
a mapped adolescence
a hope for love
a wish for peace
a few pale pages
all that was left of Anne
and my youth, too.

As for my grandfather,
no Jew, but Native-American-English
his are my roots,
he pulled the iron-cross
from a dying SS man
"We shot his legs off,
you shoulda seen
what they done- no man
should live- a man could
do that: women and children,
Lisa, in that barn, tried
to claw their way out."

I pick up the cross
still wrapped in tissue,
never touch it.
I want to know no part of this,
I have history enough in my head,
I have no need for
Hitler’s hands.
Peace, kids.


Lisa Allender said...

In re-reading my post, I want to thank those who PEACEFULLY PROTEST WAR, too. I am with you, in both theory and practice, and know you have worked tirelessly so that fewer young men and women are killed in war.

an average patriot said...

I loved it! Seeing Obama flanked by Sotomayor and Biden was a picture of the new face of America! I think she is a great choice for Dems but trouble for Repubs.

Anyway the army chief of staff plans on another 10 years in Iraq. Unless we pull out I see that as a gross underestimate and Afghanistan as many generations.

Lydia said...

Wonderful post and powerful poem, Lisa. I loved learning these stories of your relatives who served.
Sotomayor, oh yes!

Brother Tim said...

Great poem, Lisa! You are quite the talent. :)

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

OMG - so glad i visited you today.

Fantastic poem with a lot to think about.

Lisa Allender said...

Average Patriot--I agree;it is a new day!
Hope Repubs remember it was George H.W. Bush(41st President) who appointed her to the Federal bench; President Bill Clinton promoted her.
Lydia--Thanks, honey. The details on the-story-behind-the-poem:
Grandpa Reed and his company were called out to stop the torture of several women and children. He was told they would be burned alive in a large barn. They raced to the area, where they arrived just in time to see the charred remains of the barn--and the women and children! I was quite young when Grandpa told me about this incident, and I said "That's terrible, but you shot off that soldier's legs?"
"Lisa, he killed innocent women and children--he and his group deliberately killed them, just for being Jewish. These people never did anything to them....they were killed just because they were there. I was angry--all us Allied soldiers were furious. It made us sick. We didn't want to have to hurt nobody, but we were so mad. So mad. When the German soldiers fired at us, we shot back, but I wanted to shoot his(the soldier in charge) legs off, to make him suffer. He died a few minutes later, and then I took his Iron Cross--which Hitler himself put on this guy."(It is well-known that the Iron Cross was placed on the top officers, by Hitler himself).
It was hard to hear as a girl of oh, 10 or 11, but it made me realize the ENORMITY of war.
Brother Tim--Thank you. I hope one day, war will not exist.
Pixies--Thamk you! I check in quite often with you. I usually scroll down, to see what I've missed! Thanks again.

And to All of you commenting, re. Sotomayor:
I think she's going to be GREAT. Let's hope she is approved soon.