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Appalachian State University ROTC cadets listen to remarks by Chancellor Ken Peacock at ASU's Veterans Day ceremony Monday.
Anna Oakes | Watauga Democrat

Saint Francis's Satyr Butterfly

By Joseph Bathanti, N.C. poet laureate

All creatures have the same source as we have.

- Saint Francis of Assisi

A reclusive small brown butterfly,
white and yellow stigmatic suns

deployed along its wing ridges,
Saint Francis's Satyr - christened

after the 12th century Italian soldier
and POW turned mystic -

secretes itself, miraculously,
in 10 by 10 kilometers

of the 251 square mile brash
of Fort Bragg - exact coordinates classified -

beyond which - we know this much -
it has gone undetected. Shy, endangered,

preferring anonymity, it hides
in high artillery impact domains -

life often chooses death -
the fires triggered by bombardment.

It wears Marsh camouflage,
resembles in its favored habitat -

blasted sedge and beaver ruins -
a tiny standard issue

Advanced Combat Helmet.
Parsed from the chrysalis,

rent too soon from its dream of living,
the satyr blazes in desperate glory

but three or four days,
in its imaginal stage,

then tenders its life in writ sacrifice.
Its gorgeous numbers dwindle.

The caterpillar has never been seen.
We accept, on faith, metamorphosis.

Originally published: 2012-11-12 10:09:49
Last modified: 2012-11-12 14:43:01

ASU commemorates Veterans Day

by Anna Oakes

In answering the question "What can we do for our veterans?" Army veteran Sgt. Maj. Eric Loew on Monday asked Americans to remember, to think and to be educated about world events.

Loew -- a student who has returned to Appalachian State University to complete degree work he began in 1982, before 23 years in the Army -- was the featured speaker at ASU's Veterans Day ceremony held at the B.B. Dougherty Administration Building Monday.

"Remember the pain of a widow" and the children who have lost a parent, he said. "Think -- vote in every election," he said, and consider the veterans who return from combat needing a lifetime of care and support.

Finally, he said, be educated about world events and how they affect Americans, and consider carefully what is worth sending soldiers in harm's way.

Loew enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1986. In 1990, he was selected to attend the Special Forces qualification course as a Special Forces weapons sergeant. He served at a variety of posts before being assigned to the 7th Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg in 2000 as the team sergeant of a Special Forces Team. He led his team on two deployments to Afghanistan.

Loew was selected to serve as a company first sergeant in 2004. Following his promotion to sergeant major, he served as the battalion command sergeant major of the 97th Civil Affairs Battalion for two years before his retirement from the Army in January 2009. During his more than 23 years in the Army, Loew traveled extensively on six continents, and was deployed to Iraq once and Afghanistan four times.

ASU English professor and N.C. Poet Laureate Joseph Bathanti read a poem he wrote in honor of veterans, "Saint Francis' Satyr Butterfly." When Bathanti was named North Carolina's poet laureate in October, he announced plans to work with veterans to share their stories through poetry.

Bathanti plans to help create a sustainable collaborative model for teaching writing workshops for vets that can be duplicated and delivered anywhere in the state.

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