Kristie Dunlap

ONCE A MARINE… ALWAYS A MARINE

I buried my father last month; or rather the body that once housed my father’s mind.
He died in a nursing home, he didn’t even know who or where he was most of the time.

I sit here looking at a picture of a very young and handsome Marine,
remembering stories about war and the hell he had seen.

He served in the Pacific theater, Saipan, Tinian, Iwo Jima and the Marianne Islands during WWII
He was young and cocky, he drove a tank, was a corporal and a true Marine through and through.

He refused to ride in my first new car, ‘cause it was foreign made
he claimed those same men who produced that car, made him once feel afraid.

Seventeen he was when he “joined up”, he lied about his date of birth
His four older brothers had already left for war… he had to prove his worth.

He left for war a kid and came home a man, he married and had children,
And they gave him grandchildren, which was all part of his plan.

What he did not plan was the way his life would finally end…. nor the time
I buried my father, the Marine last month or rather the body that once housed his mind.

When his mind was sharp, war details and places came quickly to him
He could remember his buddies’ names and still considered each one a friend.

What I found after he was gone, my mother had kept together for him
His enlistment papers, his medals, and honorable discharge, telling where he’d been.

He never achieved greatness; riches and fame did not come in his time.
I buried my father, the Marine last month… or rather the body that once housed his mind