ROSIE THE TELEGRAPHER


Rosie was a Western Union telegrapher --
It was June of nineteen forty-four,

She had a telegraph sounder, a tarnished brass key
And a ticker-tape maker in the drug store,

Everyone knew that an invasion was planned,
But they didn't know its code name or where,

People didn't even know where their loved ones were serving --
They were just, as in the song, "Over there,"

Private Duffy knew not that Omaha Beach
Would be they end of the road for him,

Duffy's mother and father -- getting on in years --
Feared a Western Union messenger named Jim,

The soldier's parents had a star in their window --
Its color was ermine white,

If a serviceman lost his life, the star would be golden --
They prayed for him morning, noon and night,

Rosie went to work on the morning of the sixth --
Everything seemed to go wrong,

She had already handled ten condolence messages
And the day was only five hours along,

With trembling fingers, dear Rosie took down
The message that she'd prayed she'd never see --

The old familiar line: "We regret to inform you..."
Meant another life was lost for liberty,

Rosie couldn't bear dashing Sean and Maggie's hopes --
She'd let them think that their son was still alive,

Only Rosie and The War Department would know
That their son, in the invasion, had not survived,

She felt no need to paste the tape upon the form --
Receipted for it, so no one would ever know,

Only she knew the price that they all had paid --
Michael Duffy had been her only real beau.

by D. Edgar Murray 06/07/2000.