Friday, February 21, 2014

War Memories I'll Never Have

I really wanted to be a soldier.
I will never become a soldier.

Growing up I heard story after story after story about the brave souls who gave their lives for the freedom of others. That was pretty much all my grandfather talked about, oh and how he used to be poor. He was the last of the men in my family history to go to war for this country, a tradition that started 150 years ago. Stories of war heroes so firmly engrained in my mind, scenes from war movies play through my mind's eye as I laid awake at night. Only, it is me, I am taking cover as bullets fly over my head. Advancing up hills and through bushes, we charge toward the enemy position. Planes flying overhead dropping napalm and shells on nearby objectives. It all feels so real. The smell of the gunpowder, the rumble of the explosions, the deafening sting of gunshots, the pain, the blood, the screams, the death. All of seems so real to me, even at an early age I knew it. I knew an experience of war.

At first I thought this meant I should join the military, that I was destined to fight. But I realized that I didn't need to, that the war memories I'll never have taught me enough to mourn the tragedies of war, to mourn the sacrifice of my ancestors, and to hold them up proudly such that future generations well not need to.

I have always been a soldier.
I am just now finding my own orders to follow.

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