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Dedicated to Those Who Served
Submitted by Theresa
My dearest America,
As I stand here in this beautiful paradise of Hawaii, I can only think of you and how much I love you. The warm tropical air caresses my hair, the sun warms my skin, the brilliant blue waters lap the shore. My love affair with you rivals any that Hollywood could make up. I've cried for you, I've fought for you, I've longed for you and yes, I would have died for you.
Back in '41 I was a young 19 year old sailor. That beautiful, sunny December morning promised another perfect day on the island. Only it wasn't to be. Some madmen from across the ocean attacked you. We were taken by suprise. My brother Bob and I were doing chores on the USS Arizona when the bombings began. We had been talking about Mom. She seemed thrilled her two boys were serving on the same ship. She told us to look after one another. Said the farm in Iowa needed both of us back real soon. I had gone below deck when the first wave hit. Bob had remained above. That was the last time we saw each other. That night as I cried myself to sleep I grieved not only the loss of a brother but the loss of your innocence.
The war took me to many foreign lands. How often I wanted to see your endless fields of green corn or hear cattle lowing during a hot summer night. I dreamed of you America dressed in your finest Christmas garland. I dreamed of the July 4th picnics and parades celebrating your birth. I dreamed of raising a family in the land of opportunity -the land of freedom.
Between those dreams I dodged bullets for you, I dug foxholes in soil to protect you and sang songs about you. How I longed to be in my beloved America!
Well, you know the ending. I helped win the fight for you. I vowed never to leave your side again - unless it was to fight for you. The promises and hopes you had for me encouraged this war-weary boy to go on.
And now, here I am almost 60 years later back in the timeless beauty of Hawaii. I have often thought that love is an emotion that brings the greatest joys and the greatest pains that life offers us. My brother lies in a watery grave just below me. Don't forget Bob - he loved you too.
Thank you America for loving me. No where else can I enjoy the freedoms that you give me. I have fought for you, defended you and loved you for who you are. May God continue to bless you.
Your servant always,