My last battle

February 2, 2010
I am 20 years old my name is John Wilhelm. I am here for the sole purpose of telling you the story of the day that I died. First, a little background information on me and on how I died, I had a wife named Alice and a daughter Rebekah. I died in battle, the Battle of Fromelles to be exact. I was ready to go home, and was beginning my plans to go home, when my unit was called to the front lines, a horrible event for any soldier planning to go home. I heard the Lieutenant shout the command, “Over the top!” I knew at that moment I was being sentenced to death. I wish I had had the time to cry then because it would be impossible to cry from that point on. I couldn’t believe that I wouldn’t live to see my daughters face, not even once. My closest friend James came and stood next to me, “Ready John.”
“As much as I will ever be.” I replied. I heard the gun crack and I began to climb up the trenches side, for fear of being shot by the Lieutenant. As I ran through “no man’s land” I could feel the ticket back home in my pocket and I could feel the gold locket with Alice’s hair in it bouncing in my pocket, I knew that if I died I would be identified. James ran next to me until he was caught in some barbed wire. I would have stopped to help and I almost did except for the fact that he told me to go. I soon heard the gun shots knowing someone had found him caught in the barbed wire. I ran my hardest and I soon found that in the last few minutes of daylight I could see enemy lines. The faintest glimmer of hope rose in me. Then I felt it, a shot slammed into my stomach and threw me backwards. It took me a few seconds to realize what had happened. And it took a few more for the realization that I was going to die to hit me. The realization hit me harder than any bullet ever could. I reached my hand down to feel what would be my stomach but there was nothing for my hand to feel. I had been shot. The whole lower half of my body blown off. I lay on the ground silently waiting for death to over take me. As I waited, I thought. I thought about many things mostly my family though. I thought about how the happy life that I almost had with my wife and child. I thought about how my life would be different if I had no joined the army. I thought about my daughter growing up never getting to know me. I thought about Alice raising our daughter all alone. I thought about the journal I sent home, their last memories of me. I fully expected to follow that journal home when I sent it. I thought about how much I loved Alice and the daughter that I just found out I have. I thought about James. And how we had both grown as men during our time in the army. I thought about all the good times in training that I had with James. I thought about the excitement that swept over the new recruits before the war began. I thought about how our attitudes had changed and how most of the soldiers began to despise war and wanted to return home. I thought about my own excitement and how it dissipated as the fear of death grew and grew. I thought about how stupid I was to believe that war was going to be exciting, fun, and adventurous. I thought about how the government lied to us just to get us to join the war. I thought of all the men that I killed. I wondered about their families. I wondered about what they thought of while they died. I wondered if they felt the same way about this war as I did. I thought and wondered about many things as I lay there wait for the blood to drain out of me and for death to take me. Then I saw him. He wore a long black overcoat and was dressed completely in black, he had piercing blue eyes that seemed as if they could read your soul, and had had jet-black hair that looked like pure darkness. I saw death himself. I realized whom I was seeing and struggled to stand. I finally was standing and met death face to face. Needless to say, I died that night. Therefore, my sole purpose of telling you this is finished and I told you the tale of me, John Wilhelm’s, death.

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