Eddie Arana, Rick Thibodeau, & Chris Bakunas San Diego, Ca. March 2012

Eddie Arana, Rick Thibodeau, & Chris Bakunas San Diego, Ca. March 2012
Eddie Arana, Rick Thibodeau, & Chris Bakunas at Luche Libre Taco Shop in San Diego, March 2012

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Flag In The Back Of The Garage

Old man Schneider
Wouldn't hit a spider
Tinkered in his garage all day

If a kid's bike had a flat
He'd fix it up just like that
And you wouldn't even have to pay 

One afternoon Billy asked about the flag
That hung in the back next to a duffle bag
The one with the big red dot in the center

Old man Schneider breathed in very deep
And invited us all to have a seat
Looking at the flag with eyes as cold as winter

"It was in 1943
I was a just few months older than seventeen
And the world was engulfed in war"

"From Hawaii we sailed to the islands of New Guinea
To help the Aussies fight the Japanese Army
I was scared but proud to be in the Marine Corp"

With a faraway look Schneider told his story
Of mosquito-filled jungles damp and dreary
Trench foot, sunburns and bullet wounds

He spoke of battles fought against a relentless enemy
The drone of Zeros over the jungle canopy
And the overwhelming feeling of being marooned

Then he paused and stated matter of factly
That one day he was captured, unpleasantly
Spending the last 16 months as a prisoner

But the day came when the camp was liberated
Victory over Japan was celebrated
He watched the Hari-Kari of his inquisitor

The war was over, the Allies had won
But over the camp still flew the flag of Nippon
Until Schneider and his mates pulled it down

"You don't know what freedom means
Until you have been forced to live on your knees"
Mr. Schneider said as we gathered 'round

"That afternoon it was if I'd crawled out of a hole
 Without speaking a word we walked up to the flagpole
And lowered that flag into my hands"

All of us looked up at the old weathered face
His eyes were lost in another time and place
It was something we would never truly understand

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