It’s October, 1969, on an Iowa farm.
Mom’s preparing breakfast, kids ready for the school bus, dads out doing chores.
Their son has been in Vietnam since early April.
He’s good to write and they to him.
They miss him terribly and pray everyday for his safe return.
They are simple folks, just getting by.
Fall is a beautiful time in Iowa… Thanksgiving will be here before they know it.
Mom hears a knock on the door.
She turns when the knock continues…disturbing her thoughts.
At first glance it looks like her son, through the steamed-over glass.
She smiles and rushes to open the door.
But it’s not her son who stands proudly before her.
It’s someone else, in uniform…
someone else’s son who greets her with a unsmiling face.
She twists the dish towel in her hands, her mouth opens, there is no sound.
She knows, and yet she wishes this unwelcome guest to disappear
Squeezing her eyes shut, hands clutch her chest
She searches his face for a sign…
a sign of hope, but none comes
Primal screams now escape her lips…
Dad sees the car…he knows, and drops the milk buckets, and runs to the house.
There he sees the bearer of the news…
The hell on earth, that has come.
Grief has finally made its way to this home…
to his family…
to these siblings…
to these loving parents.
They gave their best.
He gave his all.
Karen Ross Epp
In loving memory of, Sp4 Stanley D. Ross,199th LIB Company C 2nd Battalion