BASTOGNE

Posted: December 18, 2019 in Poetry
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

David Leroy Allen WWIIBASTOGNE
By David Allen

Seventy-five years ago
The Germans made their last
offensive move during World War II,
attacking American lines
near the city of Bastogne.
It marked the turning point
of my father’s young life.

My dad and a few other soldiers
found shelter in the basement
of a mansion outside the city
waiting for the German shelling to stop.
But one shell zeroed in on them.
The building collapsed,
killing all except my dad
who was sitting beneath an arch.

When he was dug out
his saviors didn’t know
what to do with him.
As a scout, he wore no
identification which could
give the enemy information
on troop movements.
Also, during the battle many Germans
wore American uniforms in order
to sneak through American lines.

My father, badly wounded,
was taken to a hospital and placed
in a German POW ward.
A sign around his neck said
“This man is not responsible
For his actions.”

Later identified, transferred, and discharged
that sign defined the rest of his life.
Suffering physically and from PTSD,
booze and pills helped
him deal with a broken family
of seven kids and too many lost jobs
and moves for the next 48 years.

Finally, his bedroom became his tomb
for several years before he died.
Sometimes it takes decades to die.

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