Bit late (but maybe it's still just about Friday on the West cost of the US!)Busy week. Not sure if this one works at all. Think it might be a bit too unsubtle, but I've really run out of time!.
In honour of the late Harry Patch and Lance-Corporal Joe Glenton
I had it all today. The pipers piping. The military salute. The flag draped over the coffin.
Funny how they honour us now. Back then, it seemed we were nothing much. Pigs in the muck. Sitting around waiting for orders. I thought war would be glorious. I'd fight for a righteous cause. Save Family, King and Country. Come home a hero.
What I got was infected feet, headlice, the stench of latrines. Forays across grey mire, feet clogging with the mud. Advancing an inch, retreating six. Saving those you could, and leaving the dead to their swampy graves. Sticking the enemy in the guts, never looking at their faces. Wondering why this stretch of bog was quite so important.
Sometimes I wished someone would just say. STOP. Someone, anyone. Perhaps that should have been me.
I never did.
I had it all today. The military salute, the piper, piping, the flag spread over the coffin.
It’s hard seeing your wife mourn you. Your kids. Trying to make sense of why you’ve gone. Words like “sacrifice” seem strange from where I’m standing. I was proud once, of my uniform. I thought it would bring me glory. I’d face death for a righteous cause. I’d return a hero.
The truth was, we were never welcome there. We hid behind high walls, making occasional forays into an arid land. Brown fields shimmering with heat. Searching for the enemy with no time to separate innocence from guilt. Firing at them, never looking at their faces. Leaving the bodies to rot and stink in the midday sun. Sometimes it was hard to see quite why it was so important.
Sometimes I wished someone would stay STOP. Someone, anyone. Perhaps, that should have been me.
I never did.