Monday, July 27, 2020

A Bridge Too Far in 1944 No Longer Today

In an attempt to shorten the bloodshed and bring WWII to a sooner end
Allies had a plan to cross the Rhine at Arnhem and troops into the Ruhr sent
Operation Market Garden involved dropping three divisions of parachutes
To seize and hold the bridges until reached by British armor following on  an elevated narrow route
Sadly for the Allies, Arnhem was the bridge too far
Allies’ attempt to enter Germany, the Germans would bar
In the 60’s we were at war at home this time to achieve goals not if but when
And a bridge to cross would come into play yet once again
In 1965 blacks and supporters were trying to end decades of Jim Crow’s racist grip
While the KKK and many southern police wanted to such aspirations with violence in the bud nip
Demanding an end to the literacy tests and suppression that prevented a black vote
On a Sunday in 1965, time to assemble and a march from Selma to Montgomery to devote
600 unarmed peaceful black and white marchers started to the Edmund Pettus Bridge to try to cross
Facing a wall of Alabama State Troopers and deputies who viewed them as useless dross
Ordered by bull horn to disburse then with clubs and batons into the crowd to force them to reverse
John Lewis was in the front row and was beaten the worse
Skull fractured by a baton and but for the grace of God could have died
As TV cameras caught the one sided violence coming from the troopers’ side
The other side on the bridge was too far to cross
Beaten they fled back but the forces of suppression would suffer the loss
ABC was showing Judgment at Nuremberg as its movie for the night
Crimes against humanity yet 20 years later were again in sight
Outraged that mere peaceful protesters trying to register to a vote cast
Were beaten so badly that most viewers were repulsed and aghast
A bloody sacrifice led by John Lewis that led to the Civil Rights Act of 1965 finally being passed
And for the rest of his life a recovered John Lewis worked to see the momentum for Civil Rights never ran out of gas
His has now died and his body in a casket passed slowly over that bridge drawn by mules
Another symbolic nail in the coffin to a now despised decades of Jim Crow rule
Met by white Alabama troopers not to beat but to into a Rotunda his casket to carry
Giving all of us some hope that a good part of racial divide and animosity we have brought to some sort of bury
Today in the Washington, D.C. Capitol Rotunda the bridge, once a bridge too far
Has been crossed, led by the Conscience of the House, a lasting Civil Rights star.
© July 27, 2020 Michael P. Ridley aka the Alaskanpoet
Alaskanpoet for Hire, Poems to Admire
Poet Extraordinaire Beyond Compare
The Perfect Gift, All Recipients to Receive a Lasting Lift

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