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G.I. JOE FROM KOKOMO / William Trowbridge All this has given rise today to the idea, particularly among the veterans of the Vietnam War, that World War II should be thought of as a good war, a 'pure' war. James Jones Somehow he's become a friendly uncle: bachelor, born story teller, who stops in unannounced for chit-chat and a beer, who still smokes Luckies, lights them with an agate-smooth Zippo he's carried since Fort Sill. Forty years ago, dizzy and quick with fear, he carried it to Utah Beach, bent on living if he could or dying bravely if he had to. A gangly Eagle Scout in love with fair play and allegiance, he waded past a dozen buddies already bobbing in the surf, staggered for cover in historical black and white till crowds pressed in to see the fire boats plume him back from Victory. Only now and then does he forget and let the dead hand show, its finger sprouting a yellow talon, hard as bone. Twenty-one again this June, he plans to marry, study law, then run for office. 118 ¦ The Missouri Review SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON FROM CAPT. DANIEL MAYHEW, USAAF, RET. / William Trowbridge Big voiced, G.I. husky, he bunched his civies at the shoulders, too broad, we thought, fpr the stuff our fathers wore. He let Moses rattle on and Job contemplate the new boil on his forehead. In their place he gave us Schweinfurt, Regensburg, Ploesti: Dekker's crew bailing out, one by one, till four were counted, the other six augering in on one wing and a black smear of burning fuel. On the day he had to jump, the blow of sky ripped off a glove with his wedding ring inside: "A kind of prophecy," he said, smiling. We, his puppy crew, saw it fall, put ourselves, our desks in the ready room before dawn, getting briefed for the day's high chase through flack and fighters, knowing it would always be the other guy, the loner, bed-wetter from Detroit, or was it Trenton? —all this till the day his big hands began to tremble, the amazing tears welled, and he stood up, saying, "We're having fun, aren't we, you silly little shits." The next Sunday, Miss Branson read to us of Lot, God's grief, and the burning cities. The Missouri Review -229 ...


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