I stood beneath it’s shadow, overpowering all the concepts of freedom I had ever been
confronted with .The black bag whirled upward on a tethered harness spinning beneath a medevac
chopper rising into the blinding sun. The first is never more impregnating, as the shattered lives
become the silent stories you carry, embedded like shrapnel in your soul. David was going home.
I believe in paralyzing moments that change our lives and leave us void of emotion.
These are moments that send you to the silent corners of a church. Leave you alone in a bus
station waiting for a ride to nowhere. They can be a lifetime of tears camouflaged within the muddy
mist trailing the departure of that endless bird tipping it’s blades into the wind.
The final journey. Only in our fear of it, could we overcome the sensation of air rushing
from your lungs, pulling you upward, slicing through the hot molten air. Breathless, silent and
alone. The truth of it always was, we were all on a final journey. We all left behind one thing
we could never bring back; the way we were and the way the world would never look again.
That is what I believe is the greatest sacrifice of all, to love this country all your life as a mother
loves the sun she has given.
Looking into the eyes of a man who’s life pours away into the mud, I could only see the
blue sky reflecting back in the glaze. All sound collapsed away, and in the silence he crossed
the great divide to an eternal life. I believe the true irony of war is for every man who has given
his life, there is a man who carries his life immortal. It was that day almost forty years ago, my
soul rose into the sky, as his spirit passed into me forever.
As I walked my last patrol at the Vietnam Memorial in 1985, I laid my hand upon the
living forge of ebon stone, and felt truely reunited once again with me; the young man I left behind.
I believe in the humility and sacrifice of carrying the essence of another man’s soul. This is the
destiny of every living veteran, as the lives of their brothers will never have been in vain.
We teach our children, that freedom is the right of all men. Yet, I believe wars will never
cease in a world of children who will be the victims suffering from it’s misconceptions.
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