Evan the Soldier

May 22, 2011
By Anonymous

Born and raised in Colorado, Evan had been taught the values of respect, hard work, and sacrifice beginning at a young age. A son of a runaway father, and a loving mother, he had much responsibility. He required the sense of protection for his younger sister and mother at a young age and did the best to protect and do anything he could for them. While being the man around the house, he also juggled the love and drive of becoming a highly skilled football player. Evan was well respected by his elders throughout their rural Colorado town, and was a very kind and humble teenager. He had high values and was any parent’s dream of a kid.
Living in Colorado, he was a wilderness boy, frequently going out in the cold mountains and shooting his family’s next meal. Trudging through the feet of ice and snow, he would frequently wonder off into the mountains to get away from everything at home that stressed him out. The mountains were his getaway place.
Evan was infatuated with football, everything about it, from the bone chilling hits he laid on people, to the cerebral aspect of the game. He was awfully good, as he tore up kids his age and older during his high school career. He was a tough son of a gun and could tackle anything from a runaway train to a speedy animal. As his glory days during high school were coming to an end, he had tough decisions to make. Since he played so well he was offered to play at several junior colleges around his hometown. He was somewhat excited about the offers, but wanted more. He wasn’t sure that playing there for a year or two would lead him to more prosperous times than he had had in his childhood. He wanted to be a part of something great.
One day as Evan and his best friend Robert were driving home from a near rifle repair shop, they saw a banner for the Army Reserve. Evan, interested when he saw the banner made Robert pull over. Evan went and read the catchy slogans on the banner and was intrigued. He jotted down the number to call for more information on the banner, and that night when he had finished around the house and spending time with his sister he called the number. A representative from the Army Reserve answered the phone and told him everything he had questions about. After the call, his mind was swirling even more. He didn’t know what he wanted to do after high school.
Several weeks pasted, and Evan was still not sure what he wanted to do. He had discussed all of his options with his mom, who usually helped him with things. She told him, she wasn’t really fond of him playing at junior college, as she had fallen into the junior college trap and dropped out and never got a higher-level degree. He agreed and ruled out junior college. He had applied to several colleges around his area such as Colorado, and Colorado State. He had pretty good grades so he was accepted to both. His mom encouraged him to go to the one of the universities and if he really wanted to go out for walk on football tryouts. Along the way in their conversation he had mentioned the Army Reserve; they agreed that would have to be his choice and his choice only.
He finally had made the decision to join the Army Reserve, as he thought it would provide him with another opportunity should the whole college thing not work out. To go along with the Reserve, he intended to attend Colorado University in the fall and try and walk on as a college football play. He loved football too much to give it up without a fight.
His senior year had finally ended and Evan was soon to be off the basic training for the Army Reserve should his unit ever be needed. His six weeks of training was pure hell and he never wanted to do anything like that again. He hated it, but realized it was about more than just him, and he had great respect for his fellow soldiers. His unit was the supporting force behind a unit set to deploy to Iraq soon, which means there was a possibility they could get deployed if something really bad happened and the unit suffered massive losses. This somewhat scared Evan, but he wasn’t afraid to serve his country with honor.
With that in the back of his mind, it was time for him to finally start college. The first week of classes was the tryouts for the team. The first day he went, there were massive cuts of the walk ones, and thankfully he survived the first day of cuts. The life of a walk on is extremely tough; they cannot make any mistakes when it comes to making the team. Evan didn’t, he played with such passion and was a very smart player, which impressed the coaches. The final day had finally come and the team would be posted after practice in the locker room. After the dreadful day of tackling drills and running, he hustled to the locker room to find out his fate. He started from the top and went down, looking for his name. He continued down the page and didn’t see his name, he was at the last part of the page, and the very last name on the list was his. He had made the team. His childhood and everything he had hoped and wanted was fulfilled that day. He was a college football play. He was the most excited and joyful person, but humble as well. The two people he called and told were his mom and best friend from high school, Robert.
Normal practice for the team had begun and carried on for several weeks and the first game was around the corner. Evan was the third linebacker on the team, but the starting two were the only players to actually play. Weeks passed and Evan continued to practice and study hard, even though he still hadn’t seen the field. This was soon to change. Colorado was playing Missouri and the starting stud linebacker broke a bone in his leg and all of a sudden Evan was thrown into the fire. His head was spinning and his mind was cloudy, but this is what he had always wanted and he was ready. He played very sound through the game, and on the last possession of the other team, Evan intercepted a pass on a great play to ensure his team a victory. He was an instant hero. He became well know around campus and had started becoming a leader on the defense. Life was good for the less fortunate kid from Colorado.
After practice one evening, Evan was at his dorm studying when he heard his dorm room phone ring. Thinking of nothing, he answered and heard a stern voice requesting his to be at the Colorado Military Base in less than twenty-four hours. The world has stopped. Evan was devastated, everything was just the way he wanted it to be, and now he has to leave. He didn’t want to go but he signed an agreement to protect and obey commands from his officers and he was a man of principles and he was going to go. He instantly called his coach and told him what had happened and began packing his things. He addressed his team the next morning before he left and told him his platoon was going to be deployed to Iraq. The whole team was speechless and most were upset. There was nothing he could do, but go.
The next thing Evan knows, he’s standing in a crowded Iraqi street. His platoon was patrolling the road. They had been there for several hours and everything seemed to be okay. But suddenly they head a massive explosion and all took cover behind the armored vehicle. Several of Evan’s comrades were injured but none killed. They all hoped in the vehicle and were headed to the explosion.
As they almost arrived they could see a burst of light heading their way, it was a rocket-propelled grenade headed their way. The car was sideswiped by it and rolled the vehicle. Now insurgents trying to kill them surrounded the soldiers.
After several hours of fighting they had succeeded in getting rid of most of the insurgents. Evan and his buddies were feeling a little safer now. As they were crouching behind the vehicle all of them watched as a green metal object bounced their way. A grenade and it was a very lucky toss. They men looked at each other as it rolled in as if in slow motion. There were seven of them and in the seconds they had left no one did anything to save them but Evan. He saw the grenade and belly flopped on it as the other men covered their faces and braced for the blow.
Evan was killed as he laid on the grenade to protect his other soldiers. The other six were not harmed and they all got out alive. The platoon was shipped back to the U.S several weeks later and there was a memorial service for their fallen hero. Evan was awarded the Silver Star, the highest military award given out, for his bravery and selflessness for saving half of his platoon. Hundreds of people attended from his mom and sister to all the plays on the Colorado football team. Evan was a hero and by far the best person any of them had ever met.
The story of a young man who served his family, school, and country in the best possible way lives forever in the minds and hearts. All Evan ever wanted to do was to play football, and he finally got that opportunity. He took the most of his opportunity but unfortunately was cut short when he protected his country and most importantly his other men. His selflessness and sacrificial acts defined Evan as a man. His values of a man wrote the story of his life.

The author's comments:
A short story about a fallen soldier.

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