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And The Boys March (intro)

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“War is young men dying and old men talking”-Franklin D. Roosevelt
Tall, lanky his whole body quivers. But there is a glint of something in his eye. Determination? Pride? Anger? Or maybe just the cold promise to himself that he will fight and kill until his body will not allow him to any longer. This young man stands straight and ready with a sense of accomplishment others might mock him for. He marches on thread bare boots that flop about with every step. White wrinkled stockings follow his scrawny legs to his navy blue pants. The belt he wears is equipped with bandages, matches, one cigarette, and a horn of gun powder; he will not need anything else. His nearly black with gun powder jacket sits loosely around his arms and falls to his knees. The much to long sleeves are folded back so that his hands may be of use to him. Finally the old soldiers cap he wears with a veteran’s badge sewn neatly on the side.
He clutches his rifle tightly as to calm his nerves, because with the promise he made to himself comes fear; the fear of sharing the fate of his father who, only three weeks ago instructed him to take care of his mother and two sisters.
His father’s death seemed a lifetime behind him. Grief ages young boys. He knew this to be true on his own account. It wasn’t too long ago that he sat on an old stump and watched his father chop wood, mumbling to himself that he was old enough to help. He’d give anything for that old musty smell of rotting bark to engulf him in a flood of memories.
Then something that couldn’t happen did tears. Flowing from his eyes and leaving streaks on his pale face. He stopped himself remembering the grim words of the old tavern master. “A soldier who cries dies.” That could not happen; mother was already on the fringe of losing all mental health. One more helping of loss to her and she would be lost to them forever. The breeze that had comforted him moments ago had become one that caused the hairs of his neck to stand up on end. He knew what would happen next, the old bell ringing, the town crier calling soldiers to arms. With the old out of place his humor his father used to weave into melancholy conversations he thought to himself “Gee hope I don’t die.”




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