Mental Illness? or - Salvation                                                               Copyright ©2014 Hazel Gay

Hazel Gay's To Heal the Broken-Hearted

It all started with my father…I was a daddy’s girl…


By PFC Leon C. Gay 
45th Infantry Division, U.S. Army 

Published in the 45th Division newspaper 


You say he can’t stand the army 
that the life is too rough for him 
Do you think he is any better 
than some other Tom or Jim? 

You raised him up like a girl 
he didn’t smoke, he didn’t drink so you brag 
If all the rest of our boys were like him 
what would become of our flag? 

You say let the rough class do the fighting 
they are used to beans and stew 
I’m glad I’m classed with the roughnecks 
who fight for the red, white and blue. 

You say his girlfriend couldn’t stand it 
to see him off with the rest 
Don’t you think she’d be glad he enlisted 
when she feels the Jap’s hot breath. 

You think of the women of Belgium 
of the cruelties they had to bear 
Do you want the same thing to happen 
to our innocent daughters so fair? 

You can thank God that the stars in Old Glory 
are not blurred by that kind of strain 
because here’s to a million and more roughnecks 
who have real red blood in their veins. 

They go out and drill in bad weather 
they come in with a smile on their face 
while your darling sits in the parlor 
and lets another man fight in his place. 

Well, maybe we do fight and gamble 
but we will fight as our forefathers did 
So warm the milk for his bottle 
Thank God we don’t need your kid! 


There was a war going on.  People were being killed. People were being maimed, rumors of people being exterminated.  People were being controlled.  People hurt. People thought about things like freedom.  It was still far away…but who knew what was going to happen next?  Maybe it would be here next…and it would be OUR fields being blown up, OUR children going through that misery, OUR wives being raped. So my father decided to to the only thing he knew to do.  There was an army for for him to join. There was a gun to hold in his hand.  He went out to meet his enemy face to face….He was killed in the Huertgen Forest in Germany on October 10, 1944. 

A white cross marked his first grave in…Belgium… 

          I see misery, suffering, control of 
          people’s minds and emotions, human 
          beings turned into robots, and it’s 
          NOT far away. It’s already at home. 
          My mother, me, my sister; my 
          children may be next.  But 
          there is no army for me to join. 
          There is no basic training to prepare 
          me for battle. There is no gun I can 
          hold in my hand to kill the enemy. 
          There are no comrades to share the 
          loneliness, fear and doubt.. 

          I can’t quite decide if my enemy is 
          mental illness… 
          or the mental health profession. …. 

          One has to read that poem and 
          remember the spirit of the early 
          40’s..the patriotic spirit. . 

          It was a different era…a different war. 
          I don’t agree with what he had to say (He did not smoke or drink!) 
          …or did…in particular but I have to agree with one thing. 
          He did what he felt was the right thing for him to do. He tried. 

It’s in the same spirit I write my book.  I may find out when it’s too late it wasn’t the right thing to do. 

But I will know I tried….