Face of the Moon

July 18, 2008
By Paige Hancock, Muskegon, MI

The burden I carry is one that no one wants to carry. Along with this burden comes a long story. A story that I don’t ever like to tell, but I retell it over and over to give people an idea of what I have to remember every morning, every afternoon, every night, and even when I close my eyes even if for a brief moment…I see those who were with me during that time. That time in the fire, the gun shots, the smoke, bombs, and cries of battle, pain…of war.

I was head of the troop during that time as I recall. I was the one that called the shots; I was the one. But it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Having to make the calls…calls that no normal man would ever want to make, not a day in his life would he want to make the calls I did. But, I was trained to make the calls- call the shots, instruct my men on what to do, and where to go and how to do this, and that. It was easy in training, it was easy back then. But, out on the front lines…

I lost many of my men. I lost many of my friends. I lost the best family members I could’ve ever had. That day on the lines was a day that I never wanted to occur in my entire life.

We were running low on men. Every where I looked, a man fell; either my men or the enemy’s men. Even though we were to kill each other until one of us was dead, or surrendered, I still felt for them. But, this was my call in life. What I chose to do with myself. Defend my country, its beliefs, its people, its families, and neighbors. That is what I chose to do with my one and only life. So, I hold a gun facing people that I could have been friends with in a different situation, but, they were threatening my life, and the lives of many others. No choice. Their life or the lives of thousands.

Gunfire all through the night…all day. Thousands of miles away from home, from my family, friends, and all loved ones…protecting people I don’t even know. I protect them as they stand at my fellow soldiers’ funerals with signs protesting what we are doing. The disrespect we get from those who see this war as wrong. Don’t stand at my soldier’s funeral and say he deserved it when he fought for your son’s freedom. When he fought so your daughter could have her wedding in that church you dreamed of having yours in.

I hope by the time this is over you will realize what we have gone through to protect you, and your families. Remember us, when we are gone. But do not cry. Smile, and proudly say that we were part of the American Armed Forces, and we stood for freedom, happiness, law, and all that is just. Just as our enemy felt they were doing as they fought us.

Even though we sand on opposite sides of the line doesn’t mean they aren’t human. It only means we have differences…even in the United States we have our differences…but in the end…we all look up at the same moon, the same stars, the same sun…even the same clouds. Some might have even had the same dreams as us. We’re all human, so do not stand there and tell us we are monsters, or that they aren’t human. We’re all the same. We all look at the same face of the moon.

We all will carry the same burden, even in death.

The author's comments:
While I was watching a movie called We Were Soldiers I had the sudden urge to write something about the war, and the feelings of soldiers.

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