The War

June 2, 2010
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The year was 1917. The young Soldier, cold and tired, shifted his body to a more comfortable position in the muddy trench where he tried to keep himself awake. He should be at home in Canada working on the family farm and spending his nights in the arms of his beautiful wife. Was this just a dream? No…the crack of gunfire jolted him back to reality. He was a loyal Canadian soldier assigned to a critical mission in the Allied offensive. His unit was assigned to protect the bridge over the river from enemy attack. This bridge had to be protected from enemy assault at any cost. The Soldier was proud that both he and his brother Robert had been assigned to this mission although he was concerned for his brother’s safety as Robert was more aggressive than cautious at times. A quick look around the battlefield in front of the trench told the horrific story of the fighting that took place there yesterday. Many of his fellow soldiers had fallen, and the Soldier felt very fortunate that both he and his brother Robert had survived. As the sun began to rise in the east, however, the Soldier felt unease once again. He jumped at the sound of a shell exploding in the trench nearby. In the chaos which followed, he readied himself for battle once more.

Where was Robert? He was not visible in the trench. The Soldier raised his head above the trench in search of his brother. It was then he realized that enemy soldiers were fast approaching. He raised his rifle, aimed, and fired. The flare of the gun hurtled itself into the approaching soldier. OH GOD! As the fatally wounded man fell in front of the trench, the Soldier realized that he had just shot his own brother. What is the name of God had Robert been doing in front of the trench? No one was to leave the trench without direct orders. The soldier could not believe his eyes. There was nothing he could do to save Robert now. The Soldier wished he could turn back time. He should have been keeping a closer eye on his impulsive younger brother. How would he ever live with himself? How would he explain to his mother and the rest of his family? The Soldier considered running out into the field to join his brother as he took his last breath. He felt very much alone in the dark damp trench.

The Soldier could not let his brother die in vain. He realized that Robert had been trying to attack the enemy behind their own trenches. The Soldier crawled out of the Canadian trench and advanced quickly along the ground until he successfully entered the enemy trench unnoticed. The enemy soldiers were focused on shooting the Canadians and did not notice the Soldier in their midst. He checked left and right as he had been trained back in Canada. The Soldier’s anger toward the enemy was overwhelming. He wanted to kill them all at once. He pulled the pin on a grenade and quietly placed it in the middle of all of them. In order to escape, he ran for his life. The enemy soldiers within fifty feet of the grenade were killed instantly. The Soldier continued to run for cover in the Canadian trench. All of a sudden, he dropped to the ground in the middle of the field. He landed in a large mud puddle and then started to feel the excruciating pain from the bullet that had hit him in the chest. His chest felt like it had a thousand pound weight and he could no longer stand or even move. He lay there in the disease-infested mud puddle and his thoughts drifted back to his wife. All the soldier could see as he lay there was his wife, waving and telling him to come home. As the light began to fade around him, the Soldier whispered, “I’m home now sweetheart”. With that, he was gone.

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