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The Marine's Brother
“When do you think Matt will come home, Mom?”
“Anytime soon, John. It takes some time.”
I have been waiting for months to finally see my older brother Matt come home. I can not even remember his face or his big brotherly hugs. My mom keeps telling me that Matt is coming home soon everyday but I can not help feeling excited and nervous. Hoping for the best is the only way to keep me sane.
Once Matt turned eighteen, he enlisted into the Marines. No one could stop his decision, not even my mom, who begged him not. When Matt made up his mind, he followed through with it. I can remember the day he left; October 18, 2000, and it had been a really windy day but that did not stop my mom waiting until she could not see Matt's plane any more in the sky. For four weeks, my mom cried unstop. I tried to comfort her but nothing worked. After a while, she calmed down but I could tell she was very antsy. Matt came back home in April of 2002. He was pretty beat up and it seemed he had not slept for days. While he was home, I could tell his mind was still in Iraq because whenever loud sounds went by, he would flinch and hyperventilate. Matt returned to Iraq three weeks later and I missed him more than I did the first time he left. He wrote letters but they only came every two weeks. The last one arrived today, February 3, 2005. While finishing the letter, I heard a knock at the door.
I waited for my mom to answer the door before I sneaked down the stairs. I thought that maybe Matt came home to surprise but once I got in view of the front the door, I saw two military officials and that is when my heart sank into a pit of nothing. My vision became blurred and all I could hear was muffled cries and the word no coming from my mother. After that day, it seemed like my life was twisted through a tornado and thrown back to the ground only giving me the amount of strength to help my mother. Matt died on January 26, 2005, when a US helicopter crashed near the Iraqi border with Jordan. Twenty-nine other Marines and one sailor died in the crash. The cause of the crash was because of a sandstorm. Matt was only 24 years old.
Five months after the funeral, a sharp pain hit my heart and I knew I had to do something instead of sulking around. I called my mother to the living room to explain my idea.
“ Mom, I'm enlisting into the military.”
“ Don't be silly; your staying here with me and providing for your home.”
“ This has not been a home ever since Matt died, Mom.”
“ Well you are still not going, I can't lose another son.”
“ I understand but this is something I have to do. It is my responsibility to this family, to Matt, and to my country to fight for justice even if I might not be deployed to Iraq. I need some way to honor my brother.”
“Can't you honor him at home, John?”
“ I have made the decision, Mother, and nothing is going to stop it.”
I am glad I made the decision to enlist. It made it feel like I was taking responsibility to help protect my country from any threats that might hinder living in the land of the free. I know I will miss my mother and she will miss me too. It was the right decision. As I walk into formation, I imagine my brother standing next to me, getting ready to salute my commander.
“ Sir, Yes, Sir.”