In Memoriam – My Grandfather’s Flag

This memorial day, I hope you’ll take a moment to remember, to pray for, all those who have fallen in the line of fire—not just “our” men and boys, wives and daughters, but all of those who have fallen, everywhere around the world.

apparition_father_daughter_1In Memoriam

     Written: Memorial Day, 2009, by Lasara Firefox Allen


My mother grew up 
with photos 
of a dapper dresser
 and memories of
 comedy acts, shared songs of Scotland, her dream visitations 
the strongest vestiges
 of the man she called Daddy. My grandfather, George, died in World War II when my mother was seven.

A Scotsman by birth,
 and American by the choice
 of parents looking for a better life
, George came to this country at seven
; bright red curls
 and a brogue 
that – 
from what I understand 
- he never lost.

At a young age, with two children and a wife at home, every inch an American patriot, George became a tank-gunner
 fighting on the right side
 of the “good war.”

Many years later 
on the Peace March 
for Global Nuclear Disarmament my mother
 was mysteriously
 tracked down 
after decades of waiting 
for confirmation
 and some acknowledgment of her

. She was given a purple heart 
in recognition of the red blood
 her father, the Scotsman, spilled in the name of America, the land he now called

My mother’s mother
 was a woman I called Grandma, 
but only met a few times

. After the death of George, the grandfather I never met, my grandmother never fell in love again

My grandfather burned to death
, the tank he manned
 becoming it’s own
 crematorium. There wasn’t even a body to send home.


One Folded Flag

Last year my grandmother died
and my mother received a box
unceremonious cardboard, innocuous
holding her father’s 
only remains –

an artfully folded flag
a clan tartan and crest
a heart on a purple ribbon
a pile of letters home.

We touched the flag,
hand sewn, 
folded just that way 
since 1944

and prayed silently
tears welling.

Somewhere tonight,
a seven year old girl
awaits the return of her daddy
 from foreign soil

Or, in a land half a world away
bombs blasting in the distance
awaits, awaits.

May he return whole.

Let no more daughters wait 
a lifetime
for a flag
a medal on a purple ribbon
a pile of letters.

May no more widows mourn
alone and brittle
, hopelessly waiting
for 75 years
at a window she knows will never be filled
with the endlessly dreamed of

1 reply
  1. Marylyn Motherbear Scott says:

    Thank you, LaSara, for this memorial writing in memory of my father and your grandfather. It brings tears to my eyes, an empty longing in my heart, whenever I read it. Much love, Mom


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