Kennedy The War Years - Poem by Tom Zart
After the attack on Pearl Harbor
He applied for sea duty in the war.
Where Lieutenant John F. Kennedy
Became known for his bravery and more.
In the dark hours before dawn
On August 2, of 43.
Kennedy commanded a torpedo boat
Through the blackness of night at sea.
PT – 109, was on Solomon’s patrol
With a 12-man crew in a plywood craft.
A Japanese destroyer plowed through the night
Ramming and cutting Kennedy’s boat in half.
Two of the crew just disappeared
A third was badly burned.
Kennedy himself was thrown to the deck,
Where in pain his leadership he earned.
Some of his men had never learned to swim
As he gathered them on the bobbing bow.
The hours passed till it seemed it would sink
So they made for an island and here’s how.
He ordered those who could to swim
The others were to hang on to a beam.
Kennedy grabbed the injured sailor
And off they tread through the ocean stream.
With his teeth clenched on the burnt man’s vest straps
Skipper Kennedy swam 3 miles.
5 hours later they all made it
Despite their hardships, sharks and trials.
The next problem was how to summon up help
Without arousing the enemy all around.
After several attempts swimming to other islands
Eventually two natives in a canoe were found.
Kennedy scratched a note on a coconut
To be delivered to a base 38 miles away.
The message made it and they were saved
And their courage still lives today.
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