The following was submitted to The Hartsville Messenger, one of our local newspapers, by Carole Flowers.  Ms. Flowers is a volunteer worker with Agape' Hospice, of Hartsville, SC.  I hope it touches you as it did me.

A tribute to the nation's veterans and their families

Dear editor,

My grandfather, Sidney Lee Segars Sr., wrote a poem for his son, Sidney Lee Segars Jr., who was sta­tioned aboard the USS Wasp during WWII. The ship was torpedoed and sunk on Sept. 15,1942. My uncle survived, treading water for about 24 hrs. This poem was written in 1942, before the sinking of the ship.

Since Aug. 14 marks the end of WWII, I hope this poem will help servicemen and servicewomen who risk their lives and deal with difficult emotions every day. Also, for their loved ones who struggle to understand it all. To our veterans alive and gone: THANK YOU!

"My Son"

Son, I wish I had the power to write

The thoughts wedged in my heart tonight.

As I sit watching that small star,

And wondering how and where you are.

You know, son, it's a funny thing

How close a war can bring

A family who, for years, with pride

Have kept emotions deep inside.

I'm sorry that when you were small

I let reserve build up a wall.

I told you REAL MEN never cried

And it was Mom who always dried

Your tears, and soothed the hurt away

So you could soon go back to play.

But, son, deep down within my heart,

I longed to have some little part

In drying that small, tear-stained face;

But we were MEN — men don't embrace.

Now, suddenly, I find my son

A full-grown man, with child­hood done.

Tonight you're far across the sea,

And waging war for men like me.

And, somehow, pride and what is right,

Don't seem to mean a thing tonight.

I find my eyes just won't stay dry;

I find that sometimes men DO cry,

And if we stood here face to face,

I guess we'd find men do embrace.

Son, dads are quite a funny lot,

And if I've failed you in some spot

It's not because I love you less —

It's just this thing called "manliness".

But if I had the power to write

The thoughts wedged in my heart tonight,

The words would ring out loud and true,

I'M PROUD, MY BOY, SO PROUD OF YOU!

We won't forget!

CAROLE FLOWERS

Hartsville, S.C.

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