Uncle Hymen

HF Stein
25 February 2013
In memoriam, 1st Sgt. Hymen H. Stein, 2nd Infantry, 5th Division, U.S. Army, World War II, Killed in Action, Ardennes Offensive, 19 January 1945

Dear Uncle Hymen, You died
a year before I was born, and
have pursued me all my life.
You were killed while attacking
a German bunker in the Ardennes,
the Battle of the Bulge. You were
wounded twice before.
While still recovering, you
went back to be with your men.
I found in my attic the box
with your medals and the flag of your burial.

I was named for you. My father,
your older brother, protected you
when you were a sickly child.
He often called me by your name.
Sometimes I thought we both
should have been buried in
that cemetery in Luxembourg,
or that I could never live up
to your valor and sacrifice.

If I am you, what am I called upon
to do to end the grief that has been
my companion all these years?
Is it my duty to keep your memory alive,
or to allow you finally to have died?
Once I have had your flag repaired
and cleaned, may I drape it over
the coffin in my mind, and allow
both of us, at last, to be at rest?