Monday, October 09, 2006

The Old Shipyard

The old shipyard is not what it was,
The first thing you see is that the men are gone,
then you notice the ships that are in dock don't have gun turrets, or canons.
They were mothballed years ago.

Those men, many young, my father was eighteen,
were protected from the draft,
their services too important for the effort called "war."
It was their hands that laid the steel beams,
the skin,
the guns,
the canons,
the electrical and plumbing,
and the final pat when the job was done,
with hands weary of hard yet determined work.

Today we lift our eyes to the heavens,
and thank those who served in the armed forces, in peace time and war,
who fought and planned and preserved our freedoms,
to those who have passed on.

But we don't seem to have room in our day to thank
those who worked at home,
supporting the war effort, like
ship builders,
tank builders,
ammunition builders,
aircraft builders.

People lives were changed by the circumstances of the war,
who went to work for the war effort,
people who hadn't even been born yet,
and people who's sons, fathers, brothers fought across the seas
to protect our way of life.

In the old shipyard today there's a new building,
it houses a memorial to all the
Rosie the Riveters
who worked in the aircraft plants.
My mother was one of them.
She tossed rivets on the wings of DC-6's
in Oklahoma City.

She knew the value of her work,
and she imagined each and every airplane off
the assembly line
were aircraft one of her four brothers
who were overseas would, in some way,

My father worked in the shipyard,
he built new warships and
repaired those old battle weary behemouths
lucky enough to find safe waters
in San Francisco Bay.

He worked there as an eighteen year old,
who was the head of household for his
mother, one brother and sister.

When he was twenty-two he called my mother and
invited her to join him in marriage
in California.

I was born two years later.

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