Veteran's Day

February 20, 2011
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At home makes me remember.
Remember everything that makes me, me.
How my guilt-stricken parents looked at me when I’d said I wanted to join.
How they thought they couldn’t see me die when really staying with them was no comparison.
My head held high as I walked to the airport doors with my few items that belonged to me, on my way to my new home.
How the new bullet resistant vest and printed uniform felt on my immense body.
Living with strangers that had been to hell and back and who also thought this was the only way out.
The feeling of a hard canvas cot under my blistered fingers, and the memory of how I thought it would be my last bed.
Strangers becoming ones I could trust with anything, and who I could count on to be my crutch when I was hurt physically or mentally.
How I hadn’t realized where I was until I was in the middle of an enemy filled oven.
The burning feeling of the sand when you left your finger on too long, or the piercing sound of the unmistakable gunshots.
When I could finally look up, I was beside a wall of sand that would either save my life or burn me.
I had suddenly remembered Christmas morning with my parents as they looked at all of the green and red presents like they had never seen them before in their lives.
The smell of baking cinnamon buns and cold eggnog in the air.
And then I remembered their fight and remembered why I was in the middle of nowhere in the first place.
All of a sudden my gun felt extremely heavy in my hands, as if the whole world were resting in my arms.
There was a loud explosion in the distance and everyone was screaming at me to move.
How running over the vast desert made me feel like I was the only one left in the world.
When I’d tripped over a body and realized it was one of my close strangers struggling with his shredded thigh.
How he whispered “good-bye” to me as if they were his last words.
Not knowing what to do- keep fighting to kill someone else’s close stranger, or to help mine.
How I made it through without a scratch is one of the biggest mysteries in the world and I will still not forget the chilling, warm feeling on my back as I carried my friend’s body on my shoulders.
I wasn’t capable of feeling scared or sad anymore, for I had lost it all at war.
Remembering my daughter’s birth, or my son’s first birthday.
Or how I purposed to my wife, or how my parents hated me.
But the strongest memory I will ever hold is of my close stranger in a hospital bed saying

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Lisa said...
Mar. 18, 2011 at 10:12 am
This is so great!  You can vote by clicking on the stars at the top next to "Rate this..."
nancy said...
Mar. 15, 2011 at 6:47 pm
So well written. Wonderful tribute!
ladyfish said...
Mar. 15, 2011 at 5:10 pm
Makenna, what a great piece!! What a talent you have - this is so well written. I look forward to reading more of your work in the future. FANTASTIC!!!
Stacy said...
Mar. 15, 2011 at 1:44 pm
Makenna what a wonderful tribute to the veterans who protect us and to yourself for writing such a touching piece. What a treasure. Thank You
oakiefan said...
Mar. 15, 2011 at 12:33 pm
Well done, with depth and feelings, and excellent use of metaphor. I want to read more from Makenna.
runner_turned chubby said...
Mar. 15, 2011 at 11:32 am
beautiful use of metaphor.  especially like the hill of sand as both burning adversary and shield from harm -- like so many other things in life.  a work of which to be proud. 
DrKlay said...
Mar. 15, 2011 at 10:23 am
Incredible! Moved me to tears with its emotion and detail. So glad others can now share in this beautiful tribute to Veteran's Day.
HVacca said...
Mar. 15, 2011 at 9:11 am
Wonderful Mackenna - great job!
UPAshland said...
Mar. 15, 2011 at 7:48 am
Well done Makenna. So proud.
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