Jacob Lawrence, "Magic Man," 1958
Jacob Lawrence, Magic Man (1958)
Can a Game Be Literature?

Mark's Pages

March 3, 2009:

He never spoke of his experiences.

Years later I inherited his service records and commendations. He trained as an artilleryman, but completed his enlistment as a Sergeant commanding an infantry rifle squad, Company E, 334th Regiment, 84th Infantry Division. After serving in the Rhineland and Central European campaigns, including the Battle of the Bulge and the crossing of the Rhine, he was wounded on April 9, 1945 near the Elbe. He came home with a Purple Heart, a Combat Infantry Badge, a .32 caliber German pistol, a folding Agfa camera, and a life-long opposition to all war.

As a child I pressed him for details of the battles he'd fought. Instead he gave me a 1922 Peace Dollar, telling me, Keep this in your pocket until it's worn completely smooth.

Forty-five years later I still have his dollar in my pocket. Worn about half smooth, so far.

As an adult I worked for many years in the grass-roots movements opposing every American war of my lifetime. I hope that he would have been proud.