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Patriotic Thieves

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We were robbed. Robbed of our futures, our dreams, our loves. Most of us were right out of high school and didn’t know what to do with ourselves. College was too expensive and factory jobs wouldn’t support families forever. We stumbled aimlessly, trying to make a life decision in a few days time. Tables were set up everywhere a few days before graduation, with the bright smiling men and their wonderful promises. One man told me that college would be paid for me, while he said to a friend of mine that the world loves a hero. A more honest man told Jack that it was a dangerous job but someone had to do it.

We cruised through the next few days, dazzled by the lies that we were told. We had no idea what the job was like; words like vacation, lovely, and once-in-a-lifetime. On the fifth day after graduation we were in the office signing ourselves away on the dotted lines with smiles on our faces, happy to finally know what to do with our lives.

We were given a gun to put on our shoulders, a badge sewed to our shirts, and a faint idea of what life would be like “over there.” They shipped us off soon after that, splitting us up and sending us to places like the jungles, the deserts, some big cities. I couldn’t pronounce my destination so, like many others, referred to it as “That Island.”

Red, white, and blue. It was like Fourth of July here. They put the flag everywhere: hanging it on the tents, painting it on the sides of the trucks, and sewed onto the clothing. We walked around camp with a fake happiness, as if we didn’t know what was going on all around us. We joked, laughed, and told stories about our lives back home. Like it was some kind of party. But there was not one of us whose heart did not skip a beat when the captain told us we were heading out.

We clung to our guns like they were our girls back home, straddling them close to our bodies and resting our fingers against the triggers. Bullets could be heard all over. Screams were carried by the wind. I shot, saw people in the distance fall. But they weren’t people; they told me they weren’t like me. “Evil” was the word the captain used.

I wish I were home. Explosions forced large pieces of earth in the air. Bodies fell and made hallow thumping noises. Blood painted the ground.

“Pray to God, boys,” Captain screamed over the chaos.

Planes flew overhead, looking like clouds as they blocked out the sun and creating eerie shadows on the ground below. We knew it was over by time the bombs hit. But by then it was too late. Darkness.

We were robbed. Robbed of our futures, our dreams, our loves. In return they gave us a plot on “sacred land” and shoved medals into the hands of our mothers. They called us heroes, but we knew we weren’t. We were just kids without a future.



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CanadianRoseThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 17, 2010 at 1:22 pm
Well written and very close to the truth in some cases.
 
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