OK, I know my goal for these positivity portraits was to focus on thanking people who are mostly alive and can benefit from my praise. However, Lisa wanted a Veterans Day assignment for her classes. I happen to be really adept at creating assignments. I'm also pretty good at writing my own assignments. When I saw what I'd created, I knew I'd have to share it. And the idea of the assignment was to thank a veteran on Veteran's Day, so consider it done, about 30 years too late for it to make any difference to my grandpa. For the critics out there, keep in mind that this was fulfilling an assignment (not that it's bad), but that explains the use of allusion, symbols, metaphor, and imagery in a way I sometimes skip.

For those of you looking for the assignment I used, follow the link above to my TeachersPayTeachers page.


Ray Ost: World War II Veteran


Grandpa, you never talked

about what you saw

in the second war to end all wars,

battle’s demons haunting only you.

Our umbrella against war’s rain,

the color of the rising sun.

You were a medic,

a lifeboat in the South Pacific,

helping and healing.

A savior to some,

who bled red, white, and blue

so I can be here now,

thanking you.

Giving yourself to us at


The Philippine Islands

Wake Island

Midway Island.

The Australian coins you saved,

still shining with time-smoothed

royal heads in a box in my basement,

their value signifying nothing

beyond the sound and fury,

surrounding you daily,

that you left floating

in the ocean

with any last notion

of innocence.

And freedom.