Issue #13

(Memorial Day 1996)

Memorial Day 1996 - #13 Cover

cover drawings by Erin Higgins, Vicky Perry, and Ferrilyn Sourdiffe

This special issue is dedicated to all whose lives have been touched by war or terrorism: to those who lost their lives, and to those who survived combat experiences or lost a loved one.

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Table of Contents

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PLUS -- Illustrations by Erin Higgins, Vicky Perry, and Ferrilyn Sourdiffe

(updated April 13, 1997)

© Copyright 1995 Echoes Magazine

All stories, poems, and drawings are protected by copyright and may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, in any form, by copying or by any electronic or mechanical means, without written permission from Echoes Magazine. Individual stories and poems are also copyright by their authors; drawings are copyright by Echoes Magazine and by the artists.

The Southern Prize

by C. David Benbow

(for Michael's daughter, Micki)


how can i spend $600 i won
in a poetry contest for a
poem written about Michael killed
in korea by koreans for koreans
half my lifetime and
all of his

the check arrived in the mail today
i'll have to donate it to
some memorial charity
church scholarship
his mother his then a baby
now 27-year-old missing daughter

if i could find her
she could have the money
i've tried but Michael's
didn't keep in touch

does his daughter know
he was killed in the DMZ
of korea, not vietnam

was she told the truth
but do doubts exist for her
were American soldiers
killed in korea in '68?

my prize-winning poem
verified his death
was it written for him
or her
or you
or me

he and i know what happened
you and she don't and
You, satisfied reader, won't care.
She, MIA, can't hear me.
He's dead.
so i guess i wrote
"The Flak Jacket" for me
the money's mine


i don't want it
i can't pay off my mastercard with
Michael's blood money

© 1995 C. David Benbow

C. David Benbow is a husband, father of five, attorney, and Army veteran. He served in Korea's DMZ in 1968 and 1969, where two members of his platoon were killed and four wounded in three unnoted firefights with the North Koreans. No one knows except those who were there and the families of the dead. He lives in Statesville, North Carolina, and his poem "The Flak Jacket" won the 1995 Southern Prize for Literature.

[Table of Contents]

A Minor Incident

by Gene Moser


Following is a brief excerpt from the story:

 . . . . The three jeeps from battalion headquarters labored up the steep, rutted road to the site of the land mine explosion. First Lieutenant Phil Boydon, the artillery liaison officer, was in the rear of the last jeep and couldn't see much through the dust from the first two jeeps. They passed the row of white stakes marking the DMZ and pulled to a stop just inside the Demilitarized Zone which separated them from North Korea.

As the dust settled, Phil saw two blackened and twisted pieces of a jeep and two armored scout tracks guarding the site, heavy machine guns pointing north, gunners with thumbs on the triggers. Then he noticed the three olive green bags, one with a trickle of blood leaking from the corner. Five or six troops from nearby Guard Post Barbara were wandering around while a medic attended to two others who were wounded. They lay quietly, in shock and doped with morphine, covered in red-stained bandages and shaded by the trees and thick vegetation.

A Minor Incident
illustration by Erin Higgins

Phil noticed at once that there was no smell of explosives or death, although vegetation close to the destroyed jeep had the unearthly gray tinge of powder residue. As he looked over the scene his thoughts shifted to all the jokes the infantry were making about him and artillery. He didn't like being the butt of the jokes, but he knew there was no way the half serious, half friendly rivalry between artillery and infantry would ever end. After all, he had a comic poster hung over his desk for all to see, showing an artillery officer in dress uniform firing a cannon into a heap of writhing armor and infantry, with the caption "Artillery lends dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl."

Why was the nearby guard post named after Saint Barbara, the patron saint of artillery? he wondered. Maybe it had been an artillery post during the hot war, or perhaps artillery had first manned it after the armistice, fourteen years ago.

The new arrivals dismounted. Lieutenant Boydon, tightly encased in his zipped flak jacket, felt the sweltering August heat and humidity, felt the sweat running down his back and front. A radio crackled and a driver answered it. Mike, the infantry operations officer, told one of the men to get the mine detector unpacked and set up. Like so many positions in Korea at the time, the operations officer was, like Phil, a lieutenant. Then Mike turned to Phil and said, "Red Leg. Can you contact your battalion? Just in case."

"Sure, Mike. No problem."

Mike frowned and Phil recalled how only yesterday they had not been able to get artillery support, and it had been his fault. It was Phil's first real incident, and he had forgotten the correct frequency when he went to switch a borrowed radio from infantry to artillery. . . . .


© 1995 by Gene Moser

Gene Moser grew up as an "army brat." He graduated from Fishburne Military School and the College of William and Mary and spent twenty-seven years as a field artillery officer, including a tour in Korea. Gene has taught in the Hampton City Schools in Hampton, Virginia, since 1968. He and his wife have two adult children "and animals too numerous to mention." He has been published in the William and Mary Review and writes for Military Brats of America. His story "Courage" appeared in the March/April issue of Echoes.

[Table of Contents]

The Road From Omaha To Bayeux

by Robert R. Hentz

On a September day, we stopped for lunch
At a tea-room on the square in Bayeux.
With rolls and cheese saved from breakfast,
We sipped our tea at an open window
Facing the facade of the Gothic church.
We had come to see the tapestry
With the woven tale of victory
That turned the Bastard into Conqueror
And had left behind, but still in mind,
That field near Omaha of white crosses
Broken here and there by Stars of David,
Sown with the bones of men, once again
Crucified to save the world for decency --
That we might eat our rolls and sip our tea
At a tea-room on the square in Bayeux.

© 1996 Robert Hentz

illustration by Vicky Perry

Robert R. Hentz began writing poetry about twenty years ago, after retiring from his career as a scientist at the University of Notre Dame. He spent three years in the Army during WWII, including nineteen months on the Manhattan Project at Oak Ridge. He enjoys reading a wide variety of authors.

[Table of Contents]

The Bridge

by Barbara Schnell


Following is a brief excerpt from the story:

 . . . . Up where the road left the ground and entrusted itself into the skillful hands of those who had designed and built the bridge, Rudolf Hess stepped to the microphone. Heinz Knickmann, whom Richard had once introduced to her as the leader of the Lower Rhine SA, handed him a shining dagger.

The tall man kept his speech brief and loaded with the usual martial implications: "With this dagger," Hess began theatrically, showing the blade to the crowd, "made from Krefeld's own refined steel, I break the town's isolation so that it may win free access to the regions on the east shore of the Rhine, and especially the Ruhr region."

Slowly, like a priest performing an ancient ritual, he stepped toward the velvet band and cut it in two. A commotion ran through the crowd, giving Johanna a not entirely unpleasant shiver as it passed her. This was a touching moment, and no mistake. She already looked forward to crossing the bridge herself on her bicycle on a sunny day.

Hess stepped back to the microphone. "In the name of the Fuehrer" -- he almost cried the words, spitting them out as if each one of them were being followed by an exclamation mark -- "I give you this bridge. At your request, I give it the Fuehrer's name. Heil Hitler!"

Johanna suddenly felt very lonely. As if she were the only mistuned string in an orchestra playing a frenetic symphony. All around her, the voices once more boomed in unison. For a moment, her right arm twitched as if to join the giant, if graceless, ballet of limbs that performed the Fuehrer's greeting.

And then Johanna sensed that she was being watched. A few glowing faces away from her, a blue-eyed girl with blond braids looked her directly in the face. She just stared, coldly, without even bothering to frown. For the tiniest instant, Johanna thought of accepting the challenge, staring back, daring the girl to threaten her like that. But it was too late. She already felt the blood rush into her face, hot and deafening. . . . .


© 1995 by Barbara Schnell

Johanna at the Nazi rally
illustration by Ferrilyn Sourdiffe

Barbara Schnell is a thirty-one-year-old freelance journalist and mother of two who lives in Krefeld, Germany. Barbara has been writing and translating professionally for thirteen years. "The Bridge" is part of her first novel, now in progress.

[Table of Contents]


by Ray Catina


They all said he was
some kind of combat
heavy who was adept
at putting things
under ground which
was okay, in a way,
you had to admit there
was a lot of skill
that went with all that
gung-ho crazy stuff
but like really he
was kind of weird
because you know,
you're not supposed
to like it.


© 1995 Ray Catina


illustration by Vicky Perry


Ray Catina did a tour of duty in the late 60's; since then he has been "a jack of many trades, master of none." He began writing poetry in response to a dare by a bartender and has since published poems in numerous magazines and anthologies. He has won several contests and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He currently likes to think of himself as "on the road."

[Table of Contents]

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1995 M.D. cover1997 M.D. cover




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