It was a clear night out in the forest. The gunfire had stopped, the shells didn’t drop and there was not a sound but the birds chirping and the leaves crackling under our feet. “It feels odd, like something is missing” said my brother who had just gotten home from the German trenches. He had become so accustom to hearing gunfire and cries for help it had become second nature. Of course he had been one of the lucky ones, his life was spared he didn’t die from gas attacks or British bombardments, he came home in one piece.
“I’m leaving and I don’t believe I’ll come back but remember me” he said as he left to be stationed in a trench right here in the Argonne forest. Mother was in tears father gone, he was the man of the house. We all felt a deep feeling of sadness, of emptiness when he left. We had all heard of the atrocities of war but we never thought it would affect us so much. We all prayed he came back to us alive and not in the form as a star in the endless night.
“I never had time to admire the stars when all I saw was the stars turn into shells and the sounds of explosions turn into the sound of men screaming in agonizing pain” said my brother as he stared blankly at the night sky. I wondered what he had seen that changed him so much before the war he was very talkative and exiting, but now all he does is think and look dead on the inside. I want to ask him but it feels rude, when I look in his eyes I see pain and loss.
I decided to ask that night and he began to explain everything in full detail.” Instead of birds chirping I heard gun fire and men suffering, instead of a cool breeze I felt the flaming fury of a flamethrower, I watched as it turned men like me into living pieces of charcoal, instead of the smell of flowers I smelled burning flesh.” We all believed he was happy but the truth was he was traumatized, all the unspeakable horrors turned real.
He was in tears but still he stared at the night sky as if it was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing it was so bright and so mysterious, yet so quiet. He told me something I will never forget “ Don’t take this for granted one day it will all be taken from you and you will be left with nothing” I was chilling at how serious he had said it. I had learned to not take simple things like the stars and the smell of flowers for granted and to take them as a liberty that god has given us. We all have things that make us happy and the stars is just one thing of many.