Richard Eugene Bell was born in Bisbee, Arizona in 1920. He enlisted in the Army at the age of seventeen and became an officer after the outbreak of WWII. He served in North Africa and Italy and was in the Battle of Anzio. He was a recipient of the Bronze star.
Far from the country he loved, the wife he adored, and the baby daughter he longed to meet, Bell wrote poetry to express his feelings as he coped with the ever-evolving demands of war. Passionate love poems, humorous poems, and patriotic poems came to Bell's young wife when he was first deployed, but after experiencing the carnage of battle, Bell's poems began to register his darkness and despair. His struggle with that despair plagued Bell the rest of his life and finally led to his suicide in 1964. He was forty-three years old.
One Soldier's Poems is a journey through one soldier's soul. As a record of that journey, these poems are important and will resonate with anyone struggling with the silent wounds of war.
A note from the editor, Lana Lee Bell Jackson
I grew up reading the poems in this book, struggling to understand them and my father. These poems were as much a part of my childhood as beans and cornbread dinners and Saturday morning cartoons.
My father, who was often unapproachable, came alive to me through his poems. I came to appreciate who he was when he was young and full of hope. As a child, I was puzzled by my father's poems about war and death. As an adult, I came to understand that many of my father's poems were actually a cry for help. Like many soldiers from WWII, my father never sought help for the mental distress he wrote of so movingly in his poems. My father's story and our family's story does not have to be repeated. I hope this book will resonate with a soldier or veteran experiencing emotional distress and encourage him or her to seek help.
The Military and Veterans Crisis Line
For soldiers and veterans experiencing emotional distress,
including thoughts of suicide, help is available 24/7/365 by calling
1-800-273-8255 Press 1 or you can text 838255
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