Our Next REUNION SET FOR Naples FL.


 This is the poem Lois Williams read to the women at the 2009 reunion in San Diego



This phrase, weighted with memory,

echoes through the crowd

gathered to celebrate the

re-connection of the submarine crew.

The hospitality room is ringing with

hearty laughter and back-slapping cheer.

We move through the room,

slipping from one group to another

and hear over and over again,

“Back Then”.


Back when?

Back to the glory days

of torpedoes and missiles and watch-standing,

pride of service and teamwork

that can never again be matched.

Oh, it was all so different…

back then.


Stories are dredged up from memory banks,

re-surfaced and trotted out to be examined;

of days of danger, fear, storms and uncertainty,

of duty and boredom.

It was their job, yes, but so much more.

It defined them, unified them,

and the bond can never be broken.

For these few days, once more, they are young;

they are sailors; they are heroes.

Memories from “back then” live again.


And we, who were we, back then?

We also served. We were the glue

that helped to hold the crews together.

Carrying responsibility, loneliness

and sometimes heartbreak, on our shoulders

with determined courage; we, too, are heroes.


And so we come, releasing once more our men

to the drama of rehashing their pasts,

celebrating the contribution they have made

to our country’s freedom.

Escaping the sameness of everyday lives,

they polish pride and patriotism into

another shining memory.


We come, too, we wives,

standing tall in our own reconnections,

somehow comprehending the need

to return to the land of

“Back Then”.

We look into each other’s eyes with recognition

that cannot be explained, a bond that,

for us, too, is never broken.

We can be proud that WE survived;

did our duty; held it together

—and continue to do so—

so that we will understand at our very core

the phrase…“Remember?…Back Then.”


© Lois Williams

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