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Mason  W.  Johnson, Jr.

 

Personal Legacy
MASON W. JOHNSON, Jr.
Omaha Beach
6 June 1944


Dawn is nearing, Ships a-shearing;
Ships are packed, Radar tracked;
Men are quailing, Ships a-sailing;
Who would be dead, With dawn ahead;
Nails are bitten, Wills a-written;
Men are working, Death a-lurking.'
Omaha! Omaha!

Planes are flying, Chutists sighing;
Troopers praying, Buzzers baying;
Lights are blinking, Men a-thinking;
Sergeants goading, panes unloading;
Troops are bitching, Belts a-hitching;
Flak is crumping, Troops a-jumping!
This is War! Omaha!

Jerry sleeping, Watch a-keeping;
Jerry resting, Radar questing;
Jerry buttressed, Defense assessed;
Fire lanes cleared, Yanks a-feared;
When comes the dawn, Gen'rals a-gone;
Cooks are crowing, Noise a-growing.'
Omaha! Omaha!

Dawn is breaking, Huns awaking;
Ships are coming, Radar humming;
'Sweepers sweeping, Blip. a-beeping;
Wind is blowing, Seas a-flowing;
Lights are twinkling; Bells a-tinkling;
Coxswains shouting, Tars a-pouting!
This is War! Omaha!

Birds are preening, Smoke a-screening;
Waters surging; Majors urging;
GI's jawing; Boats a-yawing;
Hands are grasping, Lungs a-gasping;
Men are groping, Men a-hoping;
Seas are foaming, Boats a-roaming;
This is it.! Omaha!



Flares are soaring, Guns a-roaring;
Boats are sinking, metal glinting;
Clouds are scudding, Shells a-thudding;
Birds are chirping, guns a-burping;
Men are grunting; Shells a-hunting;
Ships are tooting, Huns a-shooting;
This is it! This is it!

Smoke is choking, Troops a-poking;
Rifles glinting, Bunkers blinking;
Guns are raking, All awaking;
Troops are cursing, Lips a-pursing;
Boats are grounding, Hearts a-pounding;
Men are dunking, Shells a-plunking!
This is War! Omaha!

Waters foaming, Bullets combing;
Rifles sniping, GI's griping;
Sailors towing, Embers glowing;
Bullets humming, GI's coming;
Fingers grasping, Voices rasping;
GI's sprinting, Medics splinting:
Omaha! Omaha!

Mines exploding, Guns a-loading;
Sea so chilling, Men unwilling;
Troops were sprawling,Troops were crawling;
Shells are junking, Tanks a-dunking;
Troops are drowning, C.O.'s frowning;
Navy firing, Tanks a-miring:
This is War! Omaha!

Radars twitting, men a-flitting;
Troopers mining, bullets whinnng;
Men are tripping, kits a-dripping;
Air is reeking, Shells a-seeking;
Whistle tooting, Men a-rooting;
Shells are dropping, Troops a-flopping:
This is it! This is it!

Some are weeping, Tide a-creeping;
Colonels snorting, Radar shorting;
Troops are bogging, Tanks a-slogging;
Men are dying; Time a-buying;
Men are kneeling, Planes a-wheeling;
Guns are sighting, Troops a-fighting;
Omaha! Omaha!

Seas are churning, Tanks a-burning;
GI's dragging, Spirits sagging;
Shells are crunching, Troops a-fighting;
Men are aiming, Shells a-maiming;
Tanks are torching, Flesh a-scorching;
Supplies bursting, Troops a-thirsting!
This is War! Omaha!

Men are milling, Blood a-spilling;
Craters forming, Troopers storming;
Senses numbing, Walls a-crumbling;
Tars are bailing, Tanks a-flailing;
Hurt are pleading, Wounds a-bleeding;
Shells are scarring, tanks a-jarring!
This is it! Omaha!

Soldiers falling, Captains calling;
Bodies flying, Troopers dying;
Trees are budding, Bullets thudding;
Men are fumbling, Troopers mumbling;
Currents swirling, Bodies twirling;
Colonels damning, Cannon slamming!
Omaha! Omaha!

Heads are reeling, Bells a-pealing;
Friends are parting, Medics carting;
Strengths are sapping, Minds a-snapping;
Jerry hovering, Tide a-covering;
Engines growling, Men a-howling;
'Dozers grading, Troops a-spading;
This is it! Omaha!

Men are faking, Some a-quaking;
Some troops groaning, Others moaning;
Beaches bustling, Troops a-hustling;
Some are cunning, Some a-running;
'Gineers sapping; None are napping;
Shells are dooming, Planes a-zooming!
This War! Omaha!

Hours are passing, Troops a-massing;
Sergeants bawling, 'Sweepers trawling;
Bullets chipping, Boats a-flipping;
Metal shearing; Eyes a-tearing;
Men are clawing, Fears a-gnawing;
Metal bending, Flesh a-rending!
This is it! This is it!

Tanks are rolling, Death a-tolling;
Cannon blazing, Bullets grazing;
Wounds are hurting, Blood a-spurting;
Men are blaming, Fires a-flaming;
Sides are clashing, Knives a-flashing;
Troops are linking, Kits a-clinking!
Omaha! Omaha!

Trucks are cranking, Tanks a-clanking;
Half-tracks looming; Cannon booming;
Trucks are starting, Jeeps a-darting;
Lights still blinking, Tires a-stinking;
Waves are crashing, Tanks a-smashing;
Troops still gunning, Boche a-running;
This is War! Omaha!

Men are dashing, Tanks a-crashing;
Shells are hitting, Bullets pitting;
Medics are binding, Tanks a-grinding;
Trucks are hauling, Shells a-mauling;
Troops scurrying, Ike a-worrying;
World listening, Boats a-listing;
This is it! Omaha!

Bodies tearing, Medics caring;
Grenades ticking, Shrapnel nicking;
Cor'prals leading, Snipers beading;
Beach expanding, Gen'ral landing;
Some still balking, Few are walking;
Bodies floating; Grime is coating!
This is it! This is it!

Limbs are aching, Noise abating;
Whistles hooting, Jerry scooting;
Sun is setting, Men a-betting;
Wind still blowing, Guns a-slowing;
Blood is pooling, Heat a-cooling;
Blades still thrusting, Wounds a-crusting!
Omaha! Omaha!

Some still punching, Some a-munching;
Huns are bending, Medics mending;
Some are grieving, Some a-heaving;
Men still dying, Men a-sighing;
Night is falling, Troops a-calling;
Beach still teeming, Moon a-gleaming!
This is War! Omaha!

Grenades fling, Men a-dying;
Night darkening, Guards harkening;
Phone wires kinking, Huns a-shrinking;
Bodies twisting, Eyes a-misting;
All birds silent; The ground a-rent;
Only stumps left, Blossoms bereft!
Omaha! Omaha!

Copyright 1984
MASON W. JOHNSON, JR.

OMAHA BEACH MEMORIAL
6 June 1984

From England, waves rolled in
Across the Channel floor,
Breaking gently, softly
Dying there on the shore.
Above the shining sea
Bright sunshine filled the view,
Tinting the fluffy clouds
With flecks of golden hue.
All is calm and peaceful there;
All so very restful there.

It was peaceful, calm . . . restful too
Upon the bluffs above;
Where the crosses gleamed so
In white symmetry, row on row.
The Memorial stood
A silent Guard for them;
Those 'neath crosses; those never found;
Honoring all - named, maimed
And those who can't be named.
All is calm and peaceful there;
All so very restful there.

So vastly different
Then when it earned undying fame;
Where so many suffered
And died in Freedoms gloried name;
Torn apart in War's Hell
Of thunder, lightning, flame,
On that little stretch of coastline -
Omaha Beach, its' name.
All was Death and horror then;
All so very tragic then.

Ships had brought men, guns tanks
From Britain 'cross the way.
Under fire from the shore
Brave men disgorged from them
And landed by the bay;
Some ever there to stay.
On they came, on yet on,
'Till they had won the day.
All was Death and horror then;
All so very tragic then.

Buck privates to sergeants,
Lieutenants to colonels
Fought and perished that day.
Now they all lie buried
Yonder . . upon the bluff,
Just a step up the way.
They lie 'neath the crosses
That stand there, row on row.
Their task they completed;
The World all said: "Well done!"
All is calm and peaceful there;
All so very restful there.

Forty years now have passed
Since they paid with their lives.
Their comrades took the pace,
Carried it until they
Beat Adolph's Super Race.
But the Peace they had sought
And for which they fought
Proved an elusive quest,
Most fragile at the best.
But atop that crest
Where those brave men rest,
All is calm and peaceful now;
All so very restful now.


Copyright 1984
MASON W. JOHNSON, JR.

1984
TWO SCORE YEARS AGO


Two score years ago this night,
Thousands of us,
Grandfathers now,
Young boys then,
Scared but brave,
Left Britain's shores
By air and sea.

Two score years ago next morn
They landed on
The Coast of France,
And Adolph's
Minions there
Began their Dance
Backward, Homeward.

Thus was born that D-Day
That led to VE Day.
And now we celebrate
Far and Wide dedicate
Plaques and Monuments
To he Memories
Of those who died,
Those who didn't,
Those who were hurt,
And those who weren't.
We trust their efforts weren't in vain,
Long may these Memories remain.


Copyright 1984
MASON W. JOHNSON, JR.




MASON W. JOHNSON
World War II
Memories and Biography

(Taken from a letter to Will Lundy)

300 N. Ridge Rd.
Richmond, VA 23229-7453

25 May 1988

Dear Will:

I didn't remember about your head injury. Does that explain anything in your case? Hmmm... Bliz. Now qualifies as a member of the "Head Injury Association," as recommended by her plastic surgeon (a 33 old beautiful blond!). Now, if I can come up with some ailment for her to work on me! I passed your good wishes on to Bliz, and she appreciated your kind thoughts very much.

My reference to your book was in response to your postcard of 22 February and was about your reprint. Of the 67th history 44th BG. So if you still have one, enclosed is my check.

Bliz, was very lucky. One of the first things the rescue squad did was to put a neck brace on her after bandaging her head. The emergency room gave her three pints of blood before sending her to the operating room. The surgeon (plastic, Onebach) put between 30 and 40 stitches across her forehead. Her head still throbs and her scalp itches on the outside and has "ants" crawling underneath. Does that sound familiar? I'm sorry to hear about Joe and I sent him a card.

We hope you all had a good time at the convention and we look forward to next year.

I'm sure some of the gang helped out in filling Joe's capacious shoes!

Notes about the poems - when you get to them.

We started "Omaha Beach," in 1980 while visiting that historic location, at least in my head, and "Omaha Beach Memorial" soon after. It took four years to reach what you read.

"Omaha Beach" has, I hope, a rhythmic beat pervading and is intended to portray the chaos, problems, etc.

"Omaha Beach Memorial" was intended to portray the feeling of peace and quiet at the memorial and the gravesite and the difference 40 years made at the beach and town.

"Two score years ago," is just my own memorial to that event and, honestly, it just came to me. I don't remember writing it and working over and over as I did the other two.

I would appreciate your honest evaluation of each (both of you!).

See you next year, Mason Johnson

[I submitted his poem some months ago. Will]





MASON W. JOHNSON, JR.
World War II
Memories and Biography

(Taken from a letter to Will Lundy)

8306 Ocean Front
Virginia Beach, VA 23451
(804)428-6500

24 May 1980

Dear Will:

I apologize for being so late in thanking you for the 44th BG list of members and for nothing the 67th members. Marion Bagley is the only one I have been in contact with through the years but Cisinski and McNamara & Chowanski seem to strike a bell with me.

My problem was that with both the 67th and 68th Squadrons, I knew all of my enlisted personnel by their first names and very few by their last names, and most of the officers just kind of passed through. I might recognize more if I saw them, but the conventions always come at poor times for me. For instance, this year's 4th of July Convention comes when my two daughters are coming home - one from Seattle where she lives, and the other from Korea where she and our only grandchild have been visiting her husband. He is an army captain pulling a short tour there and his family went over for a quick visit. And besides, living at Virginia Beach for the summer, it's awfully hard to leave here to go to some hot city elsewhere...

Before I could contact Ursel Harvell, he had already sent me a copy of "Jaws over Europe." As I told him in a recent letter, I went through Sioux Falls so fast I never saw any of the other 44th personnel and never received his "Trolley Missions." Also, I spent three years on active duty in Japan from 1946 to 1949 and missed Ursel's first book.

One other thing - due to running up and down the road a great bit of the last year and not keeping my records as well as I should, I am not sure whether I am a member of the 2nd ADA or not or if I am current on dues or not. At any rate, I should like to establish (or re-establish as the case may be) my membership.

I hope you will have a nice summer coming up and that California won't split off into the sea in the foreseeable future...

Sincerely,

Mason W. Johnson, Jr.
 
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