I never knew until now,
Dear Dad, though
I listened to the stories you told,
Of War that re-ignited after the one supposed,
To end all wars, or so it was proclaimed.
You went abroad, your Varsity
Stalled, dreams put aside,
Long before I was born,
Before you met my mother or I was named.
Instead, you wanted to fly,
High above the Bay of Bengal
And the Andaman Sea,
Above the carnage, or so you said.
And that must have seemed a way to save
You needed to take you through,
To come back and marry a beloved girl.
I watch the newsreels now,
They are old, with time and victory ingrained.
I can see you flying that high,
Himalayan peaks shining in your eyes,
Cold death above and horror below.
You told me stories, I recall,
Too young for me to imagine.
Now too old for me to hear them all.
You never piloted again
Except in your nightmares.
On a road between moon and sun
In your own history you flew
The infamous, undying path
Of The Burma Run.
My father, an Army Air Force Captain, put off college and piloted cargo planes over "The Hump", on the Burma Run from India to China. He wasn't prone to tell stories, yet sometimes he would talk about his flights, the wonder and danger of them, being fired at, watching his friends' planes crash into mountains and land in a war zone. He was proud of his service, yet damaged by it, as is so often the case.