Vow On Okinawa

Poem By Frank V. Gardner

One starry night on Okinawa,
Guns and men were still;
A young Marine was standing duty
On a lonely hill.

The battle ever carries on....
Two months it's been by now....
All dead exceeding ninety thousand;
And he wondered how....
How all the slaughter could continue
Under God's domain?
How long are minds of men expected
To endure the pain?

First Saipan.... Iwo Jima next,
He'd seen his buddies fall....
And, now again, on Okinawa....
No let up at all.
And was there any reason why
'Twas them instead of him?
Perhaps a reason, somewhat subtle....
More than just a whim.

On that occasion, then, he wondered
Why he felt so odd....
He had a realization....
As he felt the hand of God.

A vow was made that night in June
Of nineteen forty five:
A vow to God by that Marine....
If he got home alive:
He'd make a contribution felt
Among his fellow man.
He'd work to serve his country well,
According to God's plan.

It's forty years, now since the vow
Was made that night in June....
From his career in Government
He'll be retiring soon.

As people come to know him,
They may speculate on how....
He made a contribution.... and....
If he has kept his vow.


(June 1985, Falls Church, Virginia)

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