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Vern Preble’s Ambulance Blown up by a Tank Mine | Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs

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Title:
Vern Preble’s Ambulance Blown up by a Tank Mine
Date:
1943 November 28
Description:

"PREB"

Poem by "Fox" Edwards, In Memory of Vernon W. Preble

 

They wrapped him in an American flag

And stuck a wooden cross in the soft ground at his head.

It was his last slit trench.

"I guess I won’t drink any beer for a while"

was all he said

when they pulled his burned body free.

The fire

had scorched his eyes

his face

his hands and body.

Pinned down

In the torn and mangled ambulance,

trapped,

he fought clear of the flames

in the sickening seconds after the roar

of the bursting mine.

 

It was a brave fight

for life.

He lived four days more.

 

They found him

beside his ambulance

that the mine had burned and killed.

 

An ambulance in war

Is part of those who live in it,

drive it over steep hills and through rivers

where shells are dropping.

It is like a live thing

helping wounded men,

and where men who can not be saved

sometimes die.

His ambulance would not go on without him.

 

They picked him up

from beside the charred wheel

that he had held

at Mareth,

Enfidaville,

the Sangro River.

His life meant many lives saved.

 

We loved him

for his tousled boyishness,

and because of the times

he made us laugh

when laughing was hard.

It took guts

to say

"Guess I won’t drink any more beer…"

 

Location: At the First Crossing of the Sangro R. [River].

Phys. Desc:
Available as 200 dpi JPEG or 600 dpi TIFF.
ID:
Italy6
Repository:
Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs
Found in:
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Publisher:
Scanned by John C. Cobb or Picture Perfect ca. 2002-2004.
Rights:
This image or poem cannot be reproduced without the advance permission of the Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs.  In the event that this digital image becomes a source for publication, a credit line indicating the Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs as the source and a credit line for the photographer are required.  Please contact us if you would like to purchase a high-resolution digital copy of the image.
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