Donald E. Pearce Sr.’s Who is a Hero: A Collection of Patriotic Poems (CreateSpace, 34 pp., $10.99, paper; Kindle, $3.49) is more a pamphlet than a book. It is an aggregation of reproduced Vietnam War artifacts such as manipulated images of a folded American flag in a triangle box with a rose on the top, similar to the one I was given after my father was consigned to the ground in the National Cemetery in Arizona. The image is accompanied by the words to a verse entitled “Lament for a Hero.”
I asked myself what my parents would think of it. Easy answer: They would have liked it. The words “God keep you in his loving arms forever” would have had a huge impact on them.
Every verse in this colorful, mostly red-white-and-blue pamphlet is supported by a full page of artwork. “Heroes,” for example has an image retrieved from the internet of the POW/MIA flag. “Heroes” ends with the line, “For we will never, never, ever, forget!!!
I am remiss for not mentioning the color scheme of this book again as it overwhelms the reader. Red, white, blue—and black. The theme, though, is not forgetting, but the fear that we will forget if we are not constantly reminded.
Late in this small book protesters are called out. As in: “Their families we vow, we will protect, from protesters who don’t, have any respect.”
“Who is a hero? My Dad. If Hitler had won that terrible war, you’d now be a slave, and nothing more. So the next old man, that you see, don’t forget, He might be a hero, an American vet.”
This small work powerfully expresses fear of forgetting the dead. In fact, it practically creates a cult of the dead. It’s difficult o know what to do with this work, but I believe it expresses the thoughts of many veterans.
The author, a life member of Vietnam Veterans of America, was born and raised in Massachusetts and is the fifth child of nine. His family has a proud history of military service. Three brothers served during the Vietnam War. Donald Pearce is Assistant State Captain for Massachusetts for the Patriot Guard Riders, which helps him express his patriotism and his love of motorcycles.
Books don’t get more sincere than this one.
The author’s website is whoisahero.com