Green Hills Literary Lantern


Memorial Day


My marine lieutenant cousin

Who served in Vietnam

Drove me and several classmates

To the post office fifty years back

For some unremembered reason.

My classmates were clearly delighted

To be in the presence of a hero.

My cousin said nothing until he stopped

At a light, then turned around and said

“When you see that sign that says

‘The Marine Corps. Builds Men’—

Walk on by.”


And when I asked my dad, who won

A bronze star in Germany in WW II

What he thought about Vietnam

When I was about to be drafted,

He, who had never talked about WW II

Or Vietnam while I was growing up,

Thought for awhile, then said in a quiet,

Thoughtful voice that I could barely hear,

“Don’t go.”






Fred Yannantuono was fired from Hallmark for writing meaningful greeting-card verse, has currently published 440 poems in 91 journals in 38 states. Was nominated for a Pushcart prize in 2006, 2013, and 2018. A Boilermaker for the Lady and To Idi Amin I’m an Idiot – and Other Palindromes have been banned in France, Latvia, and the Orkney Isles. I Hate to Second-Guess Myself, Or Do I?  is due out soon. Paul Newman once claimed to have known him for a long time. Was bitten by a guard dog in a tattoo parlor.