And now…Tarawa

J. Michael Orr


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The Battle of Tarawa


A place some said would easy fall

This tropic atoll we recall

Our first Pacific test we’re told

By elder brass; the wise, the bold

So confident and sure were we

Then thrust in craft upon the sea

With smoke and tumult everywhere

As rockets blistered through the air

We hurdled forward wave by wave

Toward ravaged shore, my brothers brave

And prayed that day was not our last

While to the Lord we held steadfast

For strength into the battle fray

Against a foe not far away

Yet as we dashed into the fight

Our craft now wedged on coral tight

The tide not high as thought to be

Before the battle told were we

So in the sea we all did go

Five hundred yards from shores halo

As comrades fell to left and right

I did my best within the fight

To reach the battered deadly shore

With devastation, palms no more

Then finally sand below my feet

Determined foe I soon would meet

And prayed that day I would not die

While on the shore the wounded cry

Then three days battle finally done

The victory ours, the struggle won

Yet still alive and standing tall

So many brothers gave their all

—J. Michael Orr


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November-December 2022