When They Come Home for Christmas

October 12, 2009
Sitting in a foxhole, deep in the heart of Afganisthan, keeping themselves warm only by hugging their recently used automatic. They fight for honor, justice, and all that America stands for. Well, DID stand for. Walking off the marine issued boat, the first step on the deck sends them trembling. Home. Finally back, still alive and in good health. They know there will be post war trauma, but all they can think about is walking through their front doors and sitting down to their first real, hot meal in years. When they come home for Christmas, walking down the street, war protesters wave signs and spit at them. Many people glare, screaming obscenities at them. They pass by an alley, seeing a stained, rusted door. A boy stands, just turned 15 today, scraggly beard, blackened nails, and no will to live in his eyes, passing out bags of poison for envelopes full of cash. A group of kids on their way to the mall kicks over a blind man's rusted coffe can, spilling pennies down the gutter. The soliders look around the scene, feeling disgusted shock. What happened? Political scandals rock the news, government debts and politician rockstars follow close behind. Is this what I was fighting for? Is this what I trained for 2 years, being thrown from my cot at 2 am out in the sleet and hail? Is this what I looked the enemy in the face for and shakingly pulled the trigger? I don't fight for this; a corrupt court system, poverty infested cities, economic decline for the country and wealthy fools who did nothing to earn it, corrupt politics and politicians. Is this why I came home for Christmas? Surely this fate will be shared by many others next Christmas, the shock being ten times worse than what I face now. I didn't expect this at all. I shudder thinking of the shock the many others will have, when they come home for Christmas.

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