Contributed by Frank Toon USS Blenny (SS-324) SubVet of WWII
One day when all the Navy
to a goodly crowd was host
when it's gates were opened widely
at each Navy Yard and Post.
When crowds of friends-civilians
came from places far and near
to view the mighty warships
that were tied to every pier.
There passed before the sentry
and sergeant of the guard
an old and gray-haired fellow
who came hobbling in the yard.
Whose gait was slow-unsteady,
his frame was bent and frail,
his eyes were red and weary,
his face was wrinkled and pale.
His withered hand held tightly
a small and wilted bouquet
of flowers that he's gathered
on that Decoration Day.
Who, once inside the gateway
forsook the milling throng.
He had no time for cruisers
or the battleships so strong.
Instead he sought a vessel
that had lain for many years;
neglected and forgotten
'mid deserted, crumbling piers.
He trudged for what seemed ages
'til he finally found the slip
and his eager gaze had centered
on a very ancient ship.
The sides of which were rusty
and who's decks were rotted through
her periscope bent and twisted
and her rail was broken too.
His eyes grew dim and misty
as he gazed upon the boat
He cried,"Old pal I've found you"
then a lump came in his throat.
He moved close to the sub
'til he touched its barren side
its presence seemed to stir him
and unto the boat he cried.
"We've had our times old fellow"
in our younger days we both
have weathered storms together
and sailed pleasant seas, my oath.
We've served our nation nobly
with ne'er a thought of self
but now we're both forgotten
and we've landed on the shelf.
We're like the fabled bridegroom
who's tiring of his bride
found greater use in others
then cast his bride aside.
But still we share between us
the memories of the past
and these will serve to cheer us
for the short time that we last.
To me you were a mother
and a friend and home in one,
when tired I've often slumbered
on you just like a son.
That's why I've paid this visit
on this Decoration Day
and why I've brought this token
and he held out the bouquet.
Before I take my parting
I will rest my body sore
in the old and tender embrace
that I knew in days of yore.
Then withoout further prattle
he climbed over the sub's side
he laid down to slumber
but ere the morning came, he died.
They found his body later
and tho the old man's race was done
the old sub still guarded
her beloved sailor son.

Poem written by Dan Mack, back when Memorial Day was called Decoration Day. As this century ends it is most fitting to remember the sacrifices made by our submarine force. Submitted by NY State Supeme Court Justice, John J. Callahan. (A WW II Submarine Vet - USS Sterlet SS-392)