Poem commemorates, questions

| 29 Sep 2011 | 08:43

MILFORD - Poet and Milford resident Chuck O’Neil has written “Memorial Days,” a poem for the holiday. The three-part poem begins in the 1960s in Norwich, Conn., where he was born. It ends in the present day at Memorial Park, Milford, his adopted hometown. Written to honor veterans, the poem is based upon O’Neil’s memories of friends’ trauma upon returning from Vietnam. Its dedication is to “the ones who survived beachheads and deserts, mountains and jungles, but were lost in the battle of their hometown returns.” “Memorial Day is our country’s most solemn holiday,” O’Neil explained. “And for that reason, it seemed fitting to write a poem which both commemorates those who sacrificed for our freedom and — as patriotic citizens have done from the very founding of our nation — to question, especially when committing our men and women to armed conflict. The poem doesn’t end happily, nor, given current events, should it.” Copies of the poem in booklet form will be distributed in Norwich, Conn., and in Milford, where they will be available for free at many locations over Memorial Day weekend. O’Neil has published two books of poetry, “The Perfect Scar” (2001) and “Eating Out” (2003). A third is due out in 2007. All are available locally, and all proceeds go to the Pike County United Way. O’Neil and his wife, Celeste, have been Milford residents since 1982. They have four children.