Howard Nemerov served in both the Canadian and American armed forces during World War II, and as a pilot flew combat missions over the North Sea against the Germans.
His poem, “Ultima Ratio Reagan,” is a warning against historical ignorance and complacency:
The reason we do not learn from history is
Because we are not the people who learned last time.
Because we are not the same people as them
That fed our sons and honor to Vietnam
And dropped the burning money on the trees,
We know that we know better than they knew,
And history will not blame us if once again
The light at the end of the tunnel is the train.
You can get the collected poems of Howard Nemerov here.