The Decision

November 2, 2010
By , Wilmington MA, MA
After that one decision I was told to make, the decision that I had to make, the decision that I still think of every day of my life; everything changed. My friend, a friend that I knew and loved since the age of 3 was with me, and put in the situation with me, which made it 10 million times worse. This decision was not a matter of just saying yes or no, this is a decision that barley anybody ever needs to make, except me. I tried everything I could to get out of it, but there was no escape route. Only I could end this, only I could make the decision. I had two options, death, or more death.
This all started when my life long companion Charlie and I were in the war. We were scouting out an area for our particular regiment to set up a base camp. We were only in Vietnam for about 4, maybe 5 hours at this point. It was then when we were captured by about half a dozen Vietnamese soldiers. We knew this would be a dangerous war, but we didn’t even have a chance to get our feet wet before we were being carried away in the back of an army ammunition truck. We, Charlie and I, were in the back. All we heard was the growling engine of the truck, and the Vietnamese language, we had no idea what they were saying. About half an hour into the ride we heard “d?ng” and then the truck stopped. A thick blanket of fear was draped over us at this point. Two soldiers came around back and dragged us out of the truck. They quickly brought us into, what looked like, an abandoned warehouse. It had long aluminum walls, they were high too, at least 3 stories. At the front there were two small, unwelcoming, rusting doors. The building looked like it dropped from the sky right in the middle of a barren waste land. Everything was cold and wet; we did not want to be here. Finally there was English! A Vietnamese solder came up to us and spoke “sit down”.
I asked “what are we doing here?” He then, stopped, turned around, and screamed “SIT” Charlie and I quickly sat down. We were then approached by another solder, this solder had a
Different uniform, still Vietnamese, but he looked much more powerful. He spoke Vietnamese but the man that told us to sit translated.
“We are going to kill one of you, no need for you to decide, we choose that for you; you there with the moustache, you will be killed, that is of course if your friend chooses” Well I did not have a moustache, Charlie did. I didn’t exactly know what he ment by this; obviously I wouldn’t “choose” to kill my best friend, who would!
“Mike! You can’t let me die! Don’t tell them to kill me! Please!”
“Charlie! I’m not going to tell them to kill you, slow down. What do you mean if I choose?” I asked the soldier.
“You have two decisions” he said. “Kill your friend, or kill your regiment back at base camp”
“WHY!? Why would you have me choose something like this? What does this, or how does this benefit you at all!”
“Mike. Is that your name? I thought so. Well we are not doing this to benefit us; this is to teach you a lesson. You see, you came into our country with one goal in mind, killing people, killing OUR people, OUR best friends. Well since your so good at deciding who has the right to live, I now give you a test. You need to decide, who has more of a right to live, your friend who you know well and love, or your regiment back at base camp.”
“You can’t make me choose, neither Charlie or my team deserve to die, they all have the right to live!”
“It’s too late Mike, You have exactly 10 minutes to decide.”
I don’t know what to do; I know that killing my best friend, Charlie, would be devastating! I couldn’t imagine life without him. Then again, when coming into this war we all had one common interest, keeping as many American Soldiers alive as possible. I knew I wanted to let my friend live, but I knew I had to kill him at the same time. “Don’t do it Mike! Don’t kill me damn it! Dear god, don’t let him kill me, please don’t let him kill me!”
This was heartbreaking, I felt so weak, so defenseless, and at the same time, so guilty. I know what this soldier is trying to say. I do understand his point! This is just too extreme! I can’t decide! Why me? Why do I need to do this! I started questioning whether or not I was truly in this situation, whether or not I was dreaming! Anything to escape this pain! I thought of anything to escape this decision! The man came up to me. “Your time is up”. The way he said it was like he felt my pain, it was like he didn’t want to be doing this. I stared into his eyes and simply asked why? He turned away. “Why!?” I screamed! He remained silent. All you could hear was the echoing of my voice and Charlie, crying his eyes out. The man approached again “Charlie or your team?”
I looked at Charlie, my tears were slowly defeating the little strength I had left, and started to roll down my eyes. I stared at him and said “I’m so sorry”.
I choose Charlie; I choose to kill my best friend Charlie. I did not do it for myself, I did not do it for that Vietnamese soldier, and I didn’t even do it for my regiment back at the base camp, I did it for my country and the immense amount of pride I had for it. I knew I couldn’t kill my team; they were fighting for our country. If I killed them, I would feel so guilty, I would have let them down, I would have left my captain down, and I would have let my country down. As much as I didn’t want to kill him, I knew I had to, and so… I did.
To this day, I think back at that soldier. He was so young, so impressionable. He could not have been 20. I think back about why he made me do that. He didn’t do it because he felt it was right, he didn’t find that just. He did it because his captain was watching over his soldier. This event changes the way I look at life, that soldier alone changed the way I look at life. If that soldier stood up for what he believed in, there’s a good chance my good pal Charlie would be sitting with me right now. Now I don’t do things because other people want me to do them, or because other people expect me to do them. I do the things I do because I believe they are right. People should not be told what to do; people should decide and live for themselves, and nothing more.

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TheWanderingMoo said...
Nov. 18, 2010 at 1:49 pm
i love your premise and the message you convey is profound; on that note, watch for spelling mistakes (barely, not barley, which is a grain).  Something about the story, however, lacks a ring of real authenticity. Perhaps a more colloquial style could help?
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