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Thursday, September 10, 2020


by Nan Ottenritter

My Dad 
Date of enlistment:                                         21 May 40
Education:                                                     grammar 8, high school 2, college 0
Military occupation specialty:                       Surgical Technician 86
Battles and campaigns:                                 Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Central Europe
Demobilized at the
convenience of the Government RR 1-1:       July 28, 1945
Mustering out pay:                                         $300

For five years, two months, and eight days my Dad served
our country, proudly defeated fascism.

He is my hero, our hero, our American hero.
I wouldn’t trade him for all the fathers in the world.

Nor will I let anyone call him a loser or a sucker. 
Call him that, call me that too for I 

carry his beliefs, his pride, and his trauma.
I was enlisted as an American on the day of my birth,

I am a warrior up until this day, and I will never
muster out, have Donald’s government demobilize me,

stop campaigning for voting rights, justice, equality, 
health care: the battlegrounds of our time.

I will soldier on. Our current enemy will be defeated.

Author's Note: The first half of this is a found poem with language taken from my father’s discharge papers. Battles are unique to time and place, yet have commonalities. I will fight on, not only because it is right, but as an homage to my father and all service men and women.

Nan Ottenritter is a poet and musician who lives in Richmond, VA.