This I Believe

Donald - Springfield, Illinois
Entered on May 10, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: death, war

A Soldier’s Death:

I lie bleeding on the ground with this foreign soil blowing all around me, the dust stirred by the automatic weapons fire.

I felt the warmth of my own blood as it covered my skin.

I knew that my legs were hurt badly but there was no time to look. The enemy fire was fierce and closing. My body’s reservoir of blood was leaving me and there was nothing I could do but keep my weapon firing.

Seeing the enemy became harder as the eyes blurred and senses numbed. Managing to load my last magazine of ammo I pointed my weapon in the direction of the attacker who did this to me. I squeezed the trigger with the last strength left in my numbing finger.

A pause came and a long gasp of air exhaled from my body and that was my last breath. I had died. I knew that it was death without having experienced death before.

Following this revelation came the fast forward viewing of my short life. I knew it was short without having experienced a longer life. It was so matter-of-fact and so defined as though my life was a short movie in which I was the starring actor.

I feel no sadness, hatred, pain or fear.

A power surrounds my being and transcends me to a place where all things can be viewed. It is neither up nor down but is all around all existence. “This I believe” to be God.

This is the power in charge of all things… including all brave sons of mothers and all shining suns of universes.

We converse without words being spoken, for we (both God and I) have no bodies, therefore we are without mouths or tongues or lips for which to speak words. God informs me that I and all other living things are a small part of all power and that my death is a return to the larger power unknown to me and all living things.

In this new place I see my world as I left it. Fellow soldiers come to retrieve our bodies after securing the battlefield. They interpret the battle and discuses how brave we were to have continued firing our weapons under such heavy enemy resistance. They determine this from the amount of spent brass littering the ground around us. They don’t account for the fact that we had no choice but to fight. Self-preservation could account for much heroism on many battlefields throughout history.

All those who knew, liked and loved me came to my military funeral. Some came out of respect for the soldier that I was, others came because they shared part of my life.

They view the body and weep the tears and share the pain.

My body lay inside a casket dressed in a uniform and revealing a new rank, a posthumous promotion with a new decoration identifying the honor my country has bestowed upon me for a courageous act.

My mother …My loving mother… who gave me life and shared her body with me for the nine months preceding my birth, sits crying as they hand her a folded flag. Beside her is my father a person who I had never seen shed a tear until now. Parents are not supposed to bury their children but war has changed that. My parents are experiencing an unnatural event. They will not experience grandchildren or the comfort of my presents in their waning years.

In the chair on my mother’s left sits my fiancé with tears leaving her eyes and running down her beautiful young face. I must will her love to another man, of her choice, in her future. We shall never again hold and caress each other. Never again shall I experience the sensation of touching her young breast and feeling the warmth of her body next to me.

My time has passed; I am gone from this soldier’s body they lay beneath the earth.