A Letter to Max by Art Fettig

Original music composed and performed by Greg Bayton.

Dear Max,

Korean War Memorial, Washington, D.C.
Courtesy of the Library of Congress

It’s Memorial Day and I’m thinking about Korea and about you, Max. You and those other G.I’s they carried off on liters from that damn, beat-up powder-topped hill we called Old Baldy. We were fighting so that the world would be safe for democracy. Maybe we did a lousy job of it Max, because people are still killing each other for the same reason.

Oh, I remember you Max. You didn’t talk much, but we spent every moment together, sitting in that stinkin’ bunker, through those long nights. We took turn on watch, putting our lives in each other’s hands for a couple of hours sleep.

Max, I remember how we went without food for two days because somebody screwed up in our supply lines. Finally, I got so disgusted that I crawled up to the Command Post. While I was there those rounds came in.

Later, when I went back to our bunker, I found you Max. You and that other guy I’d never known before. I guess he was just passing by when that barrage came in and he jumped into our hole and he met death there for me.

So I’m still here to remember you Max; you and that other guy and that beat up hill where we chose to meet the enemy and say, “Hold it! We’ve come to make this world safe for democracy.” They didn’t listen, Max, and they killed you.

Max, I’ve got the feeling that maybe we made that trip overseas in vain. That the place to make the world safe for democracy is right here and the time is right now. What we’ve really got to remember today is that war is hell and that death is real and what the world needs right now, Max, is love. Love and a lot more love. Not a lot of men running across oceans to make the world safe for democracy.

You didn’t say very much, Max, but I remember what you did say. It seemed pretty corny right then. You said, “Man must learn to love his fellow man.”

Max, it is finally beginning to make sense to me. Like you said, Max, Love is the answer.

Your Buddy Art

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.