Relaxed Reads: Veteran’s Day Speakers


Veterans in uniform raise the flag during a Veteran’s Day ceremony hosted by PARTA and the Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center on Veterans Day, Tuesday Nov. 11, 2014.

Shelby Driver

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He sucked the air out of the room

when he told us how he lost his leg.

Some of us shuddered and hid our eyes, 

others tried to keep from giggling

at the sight of our grimaced faces.

We squirmed when he told us 

the details: an exploding plane, 

shrapnel raining down as bullets

whizzed by like bumblebees.

We thought about bumblebees, 

and how the stings we got on recess 

paled in comparison to that propeller, 

oh that propeller that pinned him to that

rice bowl garnished with bullet shells 

still zinging by catching him by

the shoulder as he wades in his blood

till Harry spoons him up like broth 

and pours him into the back of a 

Jeep, back into the hospital bed where

they tell him it couldn’t be


and that he is going home

a cripple. Crippled like

Jamie in Ms. Dawson’s class that 

can’t reach the water fountain by himself 

He holds up the x-rays, showing us the places 

where pieces were left, turning him into 

America’s Most Wanted whenever he 

visits the airport.

“It ain’t so bad,” he says.

He takes us out and shows us

his fireball red Mustang, sitting patiently

in the Visitor’s Lot, brought to him by

the U.S government.

Before he goes, he tells us how

proud he is that he’s an American, 

and passes out flags to take home 

so when we tell our parents how he 

lost his leg they will remember

their college days when they

stomped their feet, banging on those

white-washed doors, chanting the song of 

the peaceful, We Shall Overcome.

They are still waiting for an answer

like the postman at the door

ready to deliver peace.

Contact Shelby Driver at [email protected].