A couple celebrating their 68th wedding anniversary got a very special present. Just in time for Veterans Day next week, a love poem, written by Gordon Jackson back in 1944 during World War II, recently turned up. The words are from a love sick sailor, far from home, longing to be with the girl he left back in Lincoln Rhode Island.
"It let me express some of my feelings at the time," said Jackson. "Where we were, and what I was hoping for in the future."
Jackson, now 91-year-old, penned the poem while serving overseas in the Philippines. Because the poem mentioned his location he knew the government would censor it, and thus could not mail it right away. He would hold onto that note, written in June of 1944, until he was home, safe in her arms.
"Oh, it was a beautiful poem," said Barbara Jackson, now 89.
The two tied-the-knot on November 7, 1945. Gordon and Barbara are celebrating their 68th wedding anniversary Thursday.
The couple has had a long and happy marriage filled with more love than most see in a life time. They've been blessed with 4 children, 7 grandchildren, and 3 great-grandchildren.
During a recent visit a recent family member found the poem which had been tucked away for decades. In finding the poem they rediscovered the Jackson's love story.
To Gordon and Barbara the poem is just a piece of paper that got Jackson through some difficult times, but to their loved ones it means a whole lot more.
"Gordon read it, and they were both wiping their tears away," said Mrs. Jackson. "But it never impressed me like that."
The poem reads:
Tonight I'm watching the sun set,
Out on the Philippine Sea.
When I looked east o'er the ocean toward a land where I long to be
I remember the day we parted. I can still see the tear in your eye
I remember the words I whispered, trying hard not to cry
You said that you would be waiting and be there whene're I came home. That is the day we parted
The day that I let you to roam.
I've encountered the hours and says now, the weeks and the months by the shore.
Soon I hope to return and I know that I'll wander no more,
But tonight I'm watching the sunset out on the Philippine sea
And then I look east o're the ocean toward a girl I hope waiting for me.
All my love,
Theirs is a love that has stood the test of time, and continues to grow stronger with each passing year.
The couple plans on remembering all those who serve, past and present by attending Providence's Veteran's Day events this Saturday. Mr. Jackson has been asked to take part in the parade.