Another View of Hell
As General Sherman famously observed,
war is nothing to write home about,
but if you take part in one, and survive,
the experience can be a thing of value.
Long ago, a lifetime by the Bible's measure,
I performed a minor role in Hitler's war,
literally grew up in the wartime Navy,
and to this day have no regrets.
Few boys, then or now, are so blessed
as to be exposed, at that time in life,
to the many wonders of the world,
and to the varied qualities of men.
There were valued lessons to be learned,
about the rewards for holding up your end,
for going the extra mile, for doing what
needs to be done, in weather fair or foul.
There were times, to be sure,
when it seemed the sound of Reveille
would fade away, to be replaced
by the slow, sorrowful notes of Taps.
But those times were not so many,
and in the end were a small price
to pay for what was indeed a blessing,
the growing-up among good men.