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"You can't eat medals son "...........poem

Updated on August 1, 2015

He looked down into the small cardboard box
with a satin velvet lining
and immediately his eye's darkened and the center
lost their shining

I had found hidden away in his closet an array
of ribbons medals and a purple heart medal
right next to the volume of his war records
laying on the shelf made of metal

I asked " but what is this purple one dad
is it really the one I think it is "
he reached up and scratched his temple
and said "well let me see this"

In some new admiration I said -"I didn't know you had a purple heart
tell me how you got one of these "
After an eternally long and quiet moment he replied
"well I think I've actually got three"

"Listen son it's not a big deal you know
that war is over and done
and I'll tell you something else to go with that
you can't eat medals son "


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    • ahorseback profile image

      ahorseback 2 years ago

      Karilyn , Thank you for caring , you are right about that !

    • ahorseback profile image

      ahorseback 2 years ago

      Neliieanna , "He needs something to pin on me " LOL .-- Certainly NOT that you need a sense of humor ! You are a charm , he is right about falling though my dear friend . I even have thought of using hiking a staff in the woods , I do know this , it hurts more than it used to, to fall ! I've got some experience there . You're right though , they do stereotype us, I'm a construction worker and my doctor told me one day "You know , you really could use a good exercise program , you know , work up a good sweat " !

      So I told him

      "Doc , why don't you come follow me around for a day on the real job "!

      He didn't even smile ! Please do be well for us though Nellieanna !

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 2 years ago from TEXAS

      Thanks, dear Ed. I'd imagine that most who have been in battle would be reserved about any glorification of war.

      I'm doing well, just having to admit a few limitations I didn't count on along my journey to the century mark. haha. It poses a quandary when one faces the fact that, to get to it, one just might have to change a few habits & expectations. ;) My doctor at my annual checkup wouldn't let me leave till I agreed to get a cane. ugh. But he managed to describe the effects of that 'one time' when I need one and didn't have it dramatically changing my independent style completely! So I'm getting one. Don't really need it but. . .

      (It's why I avoid doctors most of the time. They like to stereotype people. It makes their job simpler. And he's been needing something to pin on me. So a bad fall at 83=old. sigh. hehe)

    • profile image

      Karilyn R King 2 years ago

      I rated it thumbs up and beautiful. Some people who fought in the war don't like to talk about it. I also noticed that too. My grandfather never liked war movies because of it.

    • ahorseback profile image

      ahorseback 2 years ago

      Nellieanna , thanks my friend , I will never forget my father saying that . He always remained pretty quiet about any glorification of war . .....Hope you are well !

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      wow an amazing poem.. period

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Hi Ed such a lovely poem! So true words with such great meaning.

    • ahorseback profile image

      ahorseback 2 years ago

      Hi Ruby ! Be there for tom , one day he will want to talk about it ! Thank you for caring for him !........:-}

    • Edward J. Palumbo profile image

      Ed Palumbo 2 years ago from Tualatin, OR

      We get these windows of opportunity to teach the youngsters what really matters, to share a perspective they can remember. I am thankful for those I will always consider brothers, and we've remained in contact through the years. When the wars are over and the uniforms are set aside, the lessons last a lifetime. Our new task is to sort these lessons out. I will always be thankful for the past, but we don't live in the past. I appreciated this one.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 2 years ago from TEXAS

      All I can say is WOW! So much life, feeling and wisdom in so few words. It all gave me 'goose bumps'. Thank you for sharing it! Hugs.

    • ahorseback profile image

      ahorseback 2 years ago

      Eric , I so often have honored my Father and other veterans for this very reason , they only -can understand the reasoning for having often times incredible amounts of understanding of war itself. Not the generals , not the politicians , nor the media . Yet so many people seem to dishonor their missions . Thank you sir !

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

      My friend Tom has a purple heart and he never wants to talk about it. Your poem is thought provoking. Voted uppp....

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ed this piece gave me a feeling of hope. There is something so noble and good about a father passing on real wisdom to his son, that it transcended my sadness over what the father endured to gain that wisdom. Much great food for thought, thank you.