Welcome Home, Soldier
by Andrew Troy Keller
Clark Kent has a surprise encounter on Memorial Day as he visits Arlington Cemetery and meets the Unknown Soldier!
On the grounds of the Arlington National Cemetery, one particular grave had an inscription on it, which read:
Here Rests in
Known But to God
Next to this grave, two reporters from the Daily Planet — Clark Kent and Jimmy Olsen — were gathering some information and pictures for that Great Metropolitan Newspaper’s upcoming Memorial Day Weekend tabloid.
“This is going to be a good day for the veterans, don’t you agree, Clark?” asked a smiling Jimmy. But instead of an answer, all Jimmy received from the grim-looking Clark was silence. “Are you okay, Clark?” Jimmy asked with concern, tapping him on the shoulder.
“Oh, sorry about that, Jimmy,” answered a startled Clark, turning to face the younger man. “It’s just that, for some strange reason, on each and every Memorial Day for the past few years I’ve come here, I’ve begun to expect someone to walk up and hand me a letter.”
“A letter?” asked a puzzled Jimmy. “From who?”
After a short pause, Clark answered, half-smiling, “Would you believe me if I were to say the Unknown Soldier?”
Jimmy suddenly let out a hearty laugh and answered, “I wouldn’t sweat it, Clark. Besides, if you do get a letter from a soldier, then he’s just doing his job, which is being one of the soldiers fighting for the cause of life.”
Clark was just about to respond, when a familiar voice from behind him called, “Clark, wait up!” With that, Clark turned and was surprised to see none other than Jimmy Olsen running toward him. “Jimmy?” asked a confused Clark. “But if that’s Jimmy running toward us, then who–?”
Before he was able to finish his question, he turned toward the disguised agent, only to discover him already gone.
“Clark?” asked a concerned Jimmy after he had ran up to him. “Are you okay?”
“Yes, Jimmy. I’m all right,” answered Clark, relieved. “Go ahead and set up your gear. I’ll be right back.”
As soon as he was out of Jimmy’s range of vision, Clark removed his clothes, placing them within his secret cape-pouch, and in the guise of Superman he flew up in search of the disguised agent. With the aid of his telescopic vision, the Last Son of Krypton found the agent just as he was about to put on another disguise.
Landing next to the agent, Superman smiled and asked, “The Unknown Soldier, I presume?” It had been a couple of years since the Soldier helped him to avert a war, but even then he had never actually met him face to face. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Specter of War,” DC Comics Presents #42 (February, 1982).]
“You’ve presumed correctly, Superman,” answered the Soldier while he was putting the finishing touches on his disguise. “And if it’s all the same to you, I would rather remain KIA.”
The Man of Steel smiled after a short pause and said, “I understand.” Rising up to a few feet in the air, Superman added, “Oh, and by the way, welcome home, Soldier — finally.”
After Superman flew away, the newly disguised Unknown Soldier smiled and said, “Thank you, Superman — and a Happy Memorial Day to you, too.”