Veterans Day, 2010

By Laura Carlo

Back in early August my hubs and son joined me on a walking tour of parts of my beloved Boston, my native city. Along the walk it occurred to me that my child had seen the Old North Church from the outside but had never been in so I included that on our walk. I was struck by a small and simple display just outside the Church dedicated to the memory of those American servicemen and women who have died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Dog tags, no engraving, strung up next to each other on thing ropes, tinkling in the breeze. So simple, so profound.
My little boy was by my side and we held hands as I tried to explain what this all meant, as if anyone could, and my heart broke in two for all the moms (and dads) whose little boys weren’t by their sides, but instead were represented by those thousands of dog tags.
Here are a couple of photos I took of that display, and a little poem I wrote just so I could get to sleep that night. I wrote it in the voice of all the mothers who lost a child in these on-going wars.

Old North Church Memorial
August 8, 2010

I see you, My Son, and My Son and My Son and My Son…
Mama’s here. I see you, shining boy, in the sunlight. I see you and all your buddies. Strangers to each other and yet, now, kindred souls.
I hear you, My Son, and My Son and My Son and My Son…
Each breeze strengthens your voices. You are singing in unison now.
I’m afraid to go to sleep because you will haunt me. I ache to touch your skin and kiss your cheek one more time and forever and forever.
But I don’t want to do that in my sleep. Please do not haunt me any more because I cannot let you go.
You grew inside me, My Son and My Son and My Son and My Son. And now your absence grows inside me.

By the way, if you see a veteran selling those paper poppies outside grocery stores today make a donation then shake a hand and say “thank you.”

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