Tears of an Angel

July 13, 2008
By McKenzie Hightower, Fort Worth, TX

People say soldiers are people that fight for them as a symbol of freedom, but people are wrong. If you ever lost someone you would know. Soldiers represent all the sadness it takes to create a great country. With all that loss it is hard to even speak of the terrible past, but I will.

About a year ago I waited for a very important letter from Will; he is my son. I sat around wasting endless hours watching the TV reports on the dead. He was never among them. I always waited until the letter finely came. It was a sunny day when the mailman dropped it through the slot. I quickly picked it up. It read:

Dear Mom,

I have finally made it through my training. It was hard and I put some pain staking hours into it. Now I am going to war. I have heard many terrible stories about the war in Iraq. All I hope is it is not true. One of my best friends got a letter yesterday. It said that his father was killed in Iraq. It also said he was a noble man caring out noble deeds. All I could think of was the pain the grieving widow would have felt as she saw the red U.S. bus pull up in front of her house. It is so hard sometimes. I grieve about me not being about to see my first born son. All I hope is that he does not follow in my footsteps, because they are long and treacherous ones indeed. I will write to you as soon as I get to the base site in Iraq. Talk to you later.


I cried that night for my son and his many friends he had lost. Even though I knew my son would be helping this country, it almost didn’t seem worth it. I couldn’t bear to give up my only son to the army. To think of all those people that had died for these fifty states to become united, I felt inspired and sad at the same time. I walked around the room for hours reading the letter over and over again. I will write to you soon he had said. When was that going to be? When he got to the base site?. I always hoped he would never make it that far. I just really wish he had never enlisted . It was all his fathers fault.

He was always telling him all those horribly, lovely tales of fighting for ones country. Then when the day came, when the red U.S. bus chose us for their next visit, we were never the same. The only way Will got over it was to be a part of his fathers legacy ,which he finally succeeded in. My Will, my lovely, bright Will. I love him so. Finally, I got in bed. After a long sleepless night. I got up from my nice, safe, warm bed, and headed out to the many days ahead. Seventeen days to be specific before I walked into my house. I almost dropped my grocery bags at the site of the simple letter on the ground with my name on it. I picked it up with trembling hands and slowly opened it.

Dear Mom,
I have finally arrived at base site number 14 in Iraq. I will be very blunt and tell you that even though we are all fresh out of the academy, we are soon to expect battle. Don’t worry about me as I know you are. Be worried about the other 40 men I am traveling with. They might not have someone to worry for them Especially some one as kind and loving as you. For all of your sakes , I will vow to protect this country with every breath I have in my body. This country is a great one. There are many people who are here to protect. People like you and all the families of my men. Protecting them and the ones they love is truly worth dying for. This country means that much to me .and it should mean that much to every one. Good people have died for that belief. Say hi to Mary and my son for me. Tell them I love them. And Of course I love you.


I dropped the letter with tears in my eyes. Dying, he couldn’t die I just couldn’t take it. If he died, I think that I would die along with him. I sat there a long time thinking of all the happier memories we had shared together. Then I stood up abruptly and walked into my room to take a long ,hot, bubble bath. I didn’t need another letter from Will to know he had truly become his father, His father had always gotten around fine. Still, I couldn’t help but wonder if the next letter that I knew I was going to receive, no matter if I wanted it or not , was going to be good or bad. I hoped that it was good news. But in this case like so many others I was terribly wrong.

I eventually returned to my normal life. As normal as ones life can be that is. I thought of Will as I always had, with love. I tried not to look through the newspaper or watch the news anymore. It just reminded me of him too much. Soon things began to fall in sink again……but then one gray afternoon after I had finished washing the dishes, I happened to look out into the bleak morning, and I saw it. The red U.S. bus.

I fell to the ground dropping the dish in my hand. No, No, I thought, not him. He was my son. My son and I love him. No this couldn’t have happened to him too. The cold hand of death couldn’t have taken another person that I love from me. I tried to ignore the doorbell as I quietly sobbed for my Will. My once lovely dashing Will. With those thoughts came a desperate sob. I managed to get to the door. When I opened it, I saw Patrick; Wills best friend. With out a second thought, I clung to him. I cried for all the terrible things that had happened. I had finally gotten over my husbands death and now I had another long sadness hanging over me. “Oh my god Patrick, don’t tell me that he was taken from me too! Please no!” Patrick managed to get me to the couch that Will and I had so many times watched TV. We would never have a happier memory again. “Mrs. Coleman….I am truly sorry. He was a brave man. You never know, he could still be out there. We haven’t fond his body. He’s missing in action.” All I could think about was the deep cold feeling in the bottom of my heart. I didn’t need hope. I always resented hope. He was not coming back, ever .The cold truth of the word made me shiver. I suddenly wanted to be alone. “Patrick…I’m sorry but could…you leave?” “Please call me if you need anything.”

All I could do is wait until he got to the door. Then I let go of my deep cutting sobs. I stayed up looking at some of Wills photos. That’s all I had left. After long sleepless hours at looking at photos, I finally fell asleep. It felt good to be consumed by the darkness. I welcomed it with open arms. I happily walked towards it. Step by step slowly getting closer to the overwhelming sensation of content. As I took another step I was barred by a shadowy figure. “Stop, it is not your time. You have to understand. You have to forgive. Go Back!,” said the figure.” Are you an angel? I will only answer to an angel of God.” The figure turned and started walking away. Then in almost a whisper I heard my answer. “Yes.” Then he was gone. I opened my eyes to hear a steady knocking at the door. My sorrow had suddenly vanished along with any idea if the figure I had just saw was real. Slowly I got up and walked to the door. I don’t know how long I had been asleep but it wasn’t gray outside any more. I could feel the bright sun coming through the windows. Then, I opened the door.

There sitting on the porch was hundreds of glowing candles. All centered around a picture of my son. I managed to look away from the entrancing flicker of candlelight only to see the whole neighborhood standing in the street. One after another walked up and gave me a hug or told me to be strong. I was overcome with tears of a different sort this time, these were tears of gratitude. I didn’t want to go threw this by myself and I didn’t have to. My small part of America had rallied around me and offered there help. They had done just the thing that my son had wanted for his country.

Over the next couple of weeks I started to heal. With my sons words in my mind I started to peace my shattered life back together again. Then one afternoon I saw a news bulletin on lost soldiers that they had found alive. My hands started to shack as I wished with everything I had that my son could have been found. I saw the hated Red U.S. buses pull up at lucky people’s houses. It was all too much for me. I started to cry with desperation and hatred once more.

When I finally looked up threw my tears of hatred and anger I saw the biggest miracle that had ever happened to me. I too had a Red U.S. bus outside my house. Will…was alive.

Similar Articles


This article has 0 comments.

MacMillan Books

Aspiring Writer? Take Our Online Course!