In this piece, Ken Adams has written about war, the first WWI fatality from Reno, and his own experience in Laos and Vietnam.
I have posted his introduction and background to the poem here and a link to the poem itself.
I need to warn everyone. The poem itself is quite disturbing and a very graphic picture of the carnage of war. It’s not for everyone.
Two Went to War
Darrell Dunkle Soldier True
While walking around my neighborhood in Reno in 1971, I discovered the American Legion hall, Darrell Dunkle Post #1. It had been named for Dunkle because he was the first person from Reno to be killed in World War I. In 1917 at the age of 22, he left the university to join the army. On July 18, 1918, he was killed in France. World War I was called the war to end all war. I wonder if Darrell believed that? His story intrigues; what would he think about the world today? I composed a song in his honor; Darrell Dunkle, Darrell Dunkle, where are you, where are you? Sung to the tune of Frère Jacques (Brother John), the question has stayed in my head for forty years.
Darrell Dunkle fascinates me because we traveled the same path. His took him to Europe to end war and make the world safe for democracy. Mine led from Reno to Laos and Vietnam. My war was meant to stop the spread of communism and to protect democracy. In the end, we went in different directions. He was killed. I survived. However, the outcome of our efforts was the same. The world is no safer today than it was in 1918 or 1963. And thus my little tale.
Ken Adams is a fourth generation Nevadan, writer, researcher, blogger, and artist.