We Weren’t All Heroes

 

The kid sat in his grandpa’s shadow

In the rest home, and asked;

‘Granddad what did you do during the war?’

‘Did you kill any Nazis?’

 

The old man raised his tired eyes

Looking at his grandchild, and said;

‘I was a cook’    ‘Oh’

 

*

 

Far away in someplace else

Another child asked something similar

‘What’d you do during the great war then?’

He asked casually.

-Another old man replied;

‘I intercepted radio-transmissions’

 

‘Oh’

 

*

 

And again;

‘Kill any Germans, grandpa?’

‘I was a medic’

 

‘Oh’

 

*

 

Kids always ask the same question

‘What’d you do during the war?’

They don’t understand, the complexity

And the necessity of these roles.

Cook, medic, radio-interceptor, drill sergeant.

It’s boring to them. All they want to hear

Is that their great-grandparents were heroes

That they killed the Nazis.

 

*

 

Finally, an answer came to shock one child

‘Your grandad fought in the war you know?’

‘REALLY?’

‘yeah, I fought in the war sure’

 

‘What’d you do granddad? Kill some NAZIS?’

‘I was a pilot, dropped bombs on Berlin.’

 

‘WOW.’

 

The old man grew quiet, looking away from his grandchild.

His eyes became misty, as he looked to the floor, the wall

And outside the window. As he thought to himself

Of the fires, smoke, ruins and corpses he created.

Schools, hospitals, municipal buildings and all their ilk

Houses even… his head raised again.

 

‘yeh, I fought in the war.’

 

‘but son,’ he said looking at his family.

 

‘we weren’t all heroes.’

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