Meredith Trede

TV News: D-Day

To commemorate: tour buses come from Paris

with old men who survived across seven yards—

tideline to bluffs—no cover, bodies stacking

in the shallows, surf silenced by artillery fire.

 

This dwindling corps bear medals on windbreakers

or uniform jackets the wife let out. One tells

a newsman, Me? I never think that much

about it. Another says, You kidding? I see and smell

 

it every day of my life. Our fathers’ war: mine, 4F

for impaired sight, went on a pride-bent drunken tear;

yours to the Merchant Marine, he’d fret about the ship

that went down with his buddy off Cape Ann.

 

Last June, at the American Cemetery, we walked

and wept through serried ranks of white Crosses

and Stars of David. Below the bluffs only waves

and birds break the silence on Omaha Beach.

What a National Guardsman Does in a Pandemic

Called up in March our grandson deployed to

a mile-wide containment zone, site of

the country’s first, largest, viral spread, swathed

in a hazmat suit to set up, and run

a big, white, party-like tent for drive-through

testing, and to calm anxious passengers.

 

By April reassigned to extraction,

the dignified recovery of human

remains, over two hundred New Yorkers

were dying at home daily. This mission

considered the toughest, most challenging

emotionally and physically.

 

Don’t tell Grandma what I’m doing…but when

you tell her...tell her don’t worry. I 

signed up for whatever was needed, and

for whenever called to protect and serve.

We didn’t hear from him very often

anymore. Months later he tells his mom

 

quarantine’s just a precaution. Only

a cold. But yeah, maybe he had it, twice.

Maybe service done, home end of August. 

No, can’t do, but psyched for 2 days, first-time

home then. But he’s pretty sure his service will be

up end of the year, home Christmas, at least.