"Never in the field of human conflicts was so much owed by so many to so few" - Winston Churchill

War brings death and devastation
As it did in '41,
When some still recalled the "Great One"
And the cost at which 'twas won --
"The war to end all wars" they called it;
Now 'twas all to do again --
So those boys who lay in Flanders
Died in vain -- forgotten men.

Sons and brothers, fathers, sweethearts --
Always young men are preferred
To kill and die in battle.
Some ranchers were deferred
Because beef was sorely needed;
But the owners of the land
Found it hard to run a cow ranch
When the war took all the hands.

Hirin' drifters and short timers
Don't do much to build a ranch,
And our hearts cried out in anguish
As our boys joined every branch.
Our son Ernie joined the Navy
On December 17,
Slim and Frank, the Army Air Corps,
Jimmy Wilson, the Marines.

Then the army took the others --
Tim and Billy Bob and Red,
And I had to cry with each goodbye,
Fearing they would come back dead.
Oscar, older than the others,
Couldn't bear to stay alone,
So he up and joined the Seabees,
And then all the crew was gone.

News was frightening and fearful --
Bataan, Corregidor,
Anzio, Salerno --
Just another bloody war.
How we feared and cheered for D-Day,
While off on Tinian
Ernie's workin' on the airstrips
That would figure in Japan's

Ultimate surrender;
Allied victory pronounced,
And America went crazy --
When V.J. Day was announced!
We huddled by our radios
Although the war was through,
Hoped and prayed they'd be returning,
And they all came back but two.

Jimmy went off to Alaska,
He'd just seen too much, I guess.
Tim and Slim were somehow different,
Though they came home with the rest.
Oscar's face was kind of stony,
Ernie's cheerful laugh was gone,
And Frank's left sleeve was empty,
But Lloyd still hired him on.

We recall when on the prairie
'Neath that vast black velvet dome
With silver stars scattered afar --
Billy Bob's not coming home.
And many an eye is misty
And every heart's a-throb
Till we find that gold star gleaming --
That the boys call Billie Bob.

Now many a wild young puncher
Stands hatless in the sun
As the flag goes by on the 4th of July
And we're sworn to act as one
If anyone dares defile it --
For it and the golden star
Stand for courage -- hard bought freedom
Wrenched from king, dictator, tsar

By all the boys who've paid the price --
From the Revolution's test
To those who've fought on foreign soil
To buy freedom for the rest.
I cannot see Old Glory pass
Without choking back a sob,
For those brave men and that one gold star
That the boys call Billie Bob.

Previously Featured Poems

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 Dee Strickland Johnson 2000  Buckshot Dot 2000
"One Gold Star" by Dee Strickland Johnson July, 1997