Friday, March 21, 2003

The Soldier goes to School...

You would know him when you see him, but if you saw him you probably wouldn't speak. He is from the projects, the trailer park, the mountains, and the farm. He is nineteen years old, and he has a girl that loves him real good, or maybe he just says he does. He didn't like where he was for a bunch of reasons, but mainly he wants to be thought of as a man. Everyone that knew him liked him, even though he could be a little wild. They say the military is the best thing for him. "He'll grow up, get a chance to see the world". Mama didn't like that idea, though she would never discourage him, he is her only baby and will never stand in his way. He stood up so proud and strong when he left with the recruiter. What Mama didn't know as she cried herself to sleep that night, was that her baby was doing the same. But,
Mama couldn't have been more proud.

A week turned into a month, and a month into six, he is an inch taller and fifteen pounds heavier. His cockiness has turned into confidence and there is a difference. "You sure are different, so grown!" say the people at church. The girl that loves him real good, or maybe the ones that he says see a difference too. Everyone sees a difference but Mama, she can see beneath that OD Green. She still sees her baby, but Mama couldn't be more proud. The call to arms has come, and he is sure to go after one last trip home to put his affairs in order. He walks with the swagger that he has only seen on television, he shows no hesitation whatsoever. His dad, if he has one, or maybe an Uncle or a family friend. Will introduce him to Brandy and talk about things that only men folk do. After claps on the back and alcohol laced hugs he bids everyone goodbye. His girl that loves him so well swears she will wait forever, maybe the girls that he thought about say, "call me when you get back". Mama is crying, but Mama couldn't be more proud.

He goes to a place that he never dreamed he would be. He hadn't paid attention in Geography and didn't know how to say it a year ago. But he is here nonetheless, once more a kid, once more brand new. He trains to learn all that he can, and he studies to know all that he can. Rehearsal after rehearsal until he can say his lines in his sleep. He wants to fit in, and share that same swagger, and soon enough the snickers and coarse words disapear. They can depend on him, and he can depend on them. He seems to have a family once more. His heart longs for home, but he can't say that right now, he tries to send cheerful messages back home. His pencil only has true feelings for Mama, and she can see the fear in his script. But Mama couldn't be more proud.

School is over, and its time for the real world, he checks his uniform, his weapon, and his soul. He has to stand upright and walk on his own two. He is a man that simply looks like a boy. He remains upright in the face of the storm, even as the air is shattered by smoke and roar. His body is rigid, but his soul trembles with moans of anguish, splintered bone, and the smell of blood. He stands atop bodies as if they were not there, and presses on with what needs to be done. His thoughts are never far from home, or the Mama that couldn't be more proud.

Finally as the sun comes up, and all things seem to come to light. A bullet meant for someone finds a home. He lays there shivering, strength ebbing as his life is poured out onto the sand. Through the smell of the sulphur and the haze of battle he reaches out for all that he has known. As his gaze grows glassy a tear drops his eye as he realizes he will never again see home or the Mama that couldn't be more proud.

[Just a little something I wrote thinking about the death and injury that occurs because of war. Many times we talk about how few our casualties are, but those "few" are a loss to "many". God Bless our troops]

No comments: