Normandy as Text: Atencio

Comrade in Arms
by Victoria Atencio of the FIU Honors College at Normandy American Cemetery

I don’t know you but I do
I admit I don’t know your name, your birthday, or even how you look 
But I know who you are. 

I don’t know you
But I know you lived, you fought, you died
Trying to resist a life that threatened the very core of humanity
From spreading its salute any further

I don’t know you
But I know you sabotaged the oppressors at every stage
Even from within the walls of a prison built to stifle your sprit

I don’t know you
But I know you rejected the dehumanization of the human race 
Under the constant cover of the cattle tag permanently etched onto your skin

I don’t know you 
But I know you questioned the prejudices that a seemingly meaningless act 
Could assign to your peers
Or the stereotypes it could confirm to the world

I don’t know you 
But I know you lived, you fought, you died without ever knowing who your actions would save
Simply hoping that you could

I don’t know you 
But I know that even if you were too young to understand the significance of your actions
The uniform you carry yourself under expresses it to the world 

I don’t know you 
But I know your experience as a casualty of war
Directly influenced the end of the horrors against humanity And exemplified the success of your ideals

I don’t know you 
But I know that even if you did not want to contribute the way that you did
You lived, you fought, you died so that little Lucienne Friedler and all the children from Maison d’Izieu could survive strongly, running and playing freely
Alive through the sentiments of society. 

I don’t know you 
But I know you tightly gripped the torch from Flanders fields 
And carried it zealously up the shores to certain death 
To confront a foe you could not see

I don’t know you
But I know you felt the responsibility of passing this idea
Through time and space from failing hands 
Of refusing to accept the unacceptable. 

Though you might not have done it all alone,
Anyone who had any role in this fight for freedom is responsible for it all
 
So I don’t know your name, your age, your favorite color, not even your hopes and dreams
And I’m very sorry I don’t know you
Just know that you may now sleep soundly under the poppies
Because, along with the rest of the world, 
I god damn son of a bitch sure as shit am glad that I do 
Know you 

EDITOR AND LAST UPDATE
John William Bailly  19 July 2019
COPYRIGHT © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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