A Military Burial This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

May 27, 2010
By , Clarkston, MI
“And now a moment of silence for our beloved fallen,” says Father. It has been a long week and a very sad one.

On Monday, my mom answered the door to a stranger in uniform, while I sat in the other room trying to listen. I saw the man say something and my mother collapse to the floor in tears. I didn't have to hear his words to know what had happened.

He was gone. It was a very noble and sad way to go, fighting for our country, but it doesn't change the fact that I wished it hadn't happened.

“Now in memory of our brother, would you turn your attention south for a 21-gun salute.” Everyone turns in unison, as if controlled by some higher force. That makes me think, What are we really just puppets on strings? What if the choices we make aren't really ours? What if we just think they're ours but they're really influenced by those higher than us? What if …

My thoughts are interrupted by 21 guns firing for my dad, and it reminds me of the real reason I am here. I'm not here to sit around wondering about random things. No, I am here to remember my dad, who lost his life in Iraq, and all those who have died fighting for our country, our families, and our freedom.

I look up to see 21 soldiers unfolding a flag and handing it to the priest. Delicately Father drapes the clean American flag over my father's coffin. And that's when I know he is gone and isn't ever coming back.

Then everyone leaves like they have something better to do, something more important. I tell myself to calm down, that they didn't know him like I did. Eventually it's just me and the caretakers. I stand there and watch them bury my dad, hoping he will come up behind me and say, “Are you coming? It's time to go.” I wish he were still here, that it didn't have to end this way, that he could have stayed.

Finally even the caretakers leave. Now it's just me. I walk over to my father's grave, stare at it for a few minutes hoping it will just be over with. Then I cry.

I cry and cry until the tears won't come anymore. Eventually I just stare at the dirt on top of my father's coffin, the flags all around his grave and the cemetery, and the tombstone. Then I cry some more.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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Daffe10 said...
Mar. 25, 2012 at 9:47 pm

Your father died an honorable death. My condolences. I know it isn't much, but here are a few of my favorite quotations:

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept... (more »)

 
BigSis said...
Nov. 5, 2010 at 3:34 pm
This story is amazing...you're a better writer than you realize! You have a strong ability to pull people in by their emotions...keep it up :]
 
Jakethesnake said...
Nov. 4, 2010 at 7:24 pm
I can't imagine how I would react if my dad died... God. We are like best friends. But the fight must be fought, the lives must be lost. For us to be free, even children must make that great sacrifice.
 
kdks said...
Nov. 3, 2010 at 8:07 am
this story made me cry too!!!
 
babs said...
Nov. 2, 2010 at 12:09 am
WOW!!! Very powerful stuff. Great writing. I felt like I was right there through it all.
 
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