The Bloodied Soldier- A 1960's Incident.

It was the last and quite possibly the most turbulent year of what had been a turbulent decade. But I, five years old at the time knew nothing of this- history and politics were a world that would open to me later, their comprehension would come with my discovery of books but first, my complete grasp of the English language.
Then, my days were wrapped in a saccharine sweetness of Captain Kangaroo and Gilligan's Island, playing in my friend Laura's cherry tree and swinging on my swing set until I felt I flew. My little world in and around that green and white house on West Vine street was kept as sheltered as could be by my parents, who tried to shield me- not just from the world's horrors as they had seen- (WWII in Eastern Europe and the Hungarian revolution.) but from any and all unpleasantries.
Then, I could still hide my eyes from the things that I didn't like- the explosive flashes of fireworks that I failed to see the beauty in because they just scared me.
And so, that 4th of July, ( like the few previous, that I remember)my father, forever the proud Hungarian, but also the assimilated American, would show his love for this- the land of the free, by celebrating in patriotic American ways- he'd fly the stars and stripes on our house, take us to the parade, oohing and aahing at the floats passing by and we'd eat hot dogs and popsicles with the same gusto we usually reserved for chicken paprika and strudel.
My mother, tied up our hair- hers and mine with huge starched bows in a style from another place and time and we wore our nicest summer dresses and patent leather shoes- reserved for outings at a time when jeans, t-shirts and tennis shoes were becoming the normal attire.
So we were, all piled in my father's old white Chevy- the one he treated with the same care and attention a teenager would his first car, although he was a man nearly forty years old and it was his first car. I remember fireworks, still held on the football auditorium and me, grateful that all of the loud banging and the bright flashes were over and we were on our way home, where I would fall asleep hugging my stuffed rabbit, Floppy- named by my cousin, four years older than me, who said: " Don't call it Nyus, ( Hungarian for " bunny" ) give it an American name."
I remember a throng of people in the streets and my father having difficulty maneuvering past them- the cause for his abrupt stop.
Because there, in the night, a hysterical woman jumped in front of us and flagged us down and she held up a bloody, nearly unconscious soldier.
My father drove them to the nearest hospital. To this day I don't know exactly what happened. My parents never discussed it afterwards and I don't know if we drove through an anti-war demonstration, or whether this was an isolated incident of probably drunken rowdies targeting a soldier to vent their rage, at what was happening a world away.
I only know what I pieces together from the conversation in the car, between the woman and my parents and what I pieced together was fragmented because of my rudimentary English.
I understood that the soldier, the woman's husband, was badly beaten and I understood she said not just fists, but bottles were used, broken against his head and face.
Afterwards, my parents and I, never knew what became of him. And strange, the workings of memory- I don't know what he looked like- the color of his hair, or eyes, whether he was tall or short, I can only still see the blood streaked face, the bewildered expression and ruined green uniform.
And stranger still, is what I recall the most- that I wasn't traumatized by this late night vision as my mother feared.
No, I'd forgotten most of the details- but I can still envision clearly my father scrubbing out the car the next day- the buckets of bloody water, the reddened rags and sponges and the fact that we didn't go to the fireworks again for many, many years.

This poem is about: 
Me
My family
My country
Our world

Comments

MVP-Most Valuable Poet

great story about the history , the struggle of harsh realities

the selfishness, the corrupt

in spite of it, there is hope-u can speak about it and bring awareness

its about love and acceptance

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