Quote: “Perhaps today is a good day to die.”

War. War never changes

Since man first appeared on earth, when apes first learned of the killing power of bone and stone, since fire and sickness was used to purge entire villages, since the atom was used for great horror, blood has been spilt in the name of almost everything; god, freedom,  greed, hate, and revenge.  When the world ended, it did not stop war, rather it started the next chapter in the ever ranging war mankind has fought since the dawn of time.  War never changes – people do.

So there I was walking down the _street_ when it hit me.  I really need to get some new cloths.  It was a hot San Francisco day in 1969 school had just let out and I really needed to rule the day.  Up ahead were the old fairgrounds.  I loved going there as a kid with my dad.  He used to take me to every ride he could get me on.  He always made me laugh.  I remember one time he got into a fight with the attendant just so I could get the biggest stuffed animal I could see.  My dad died _in the war._ He was defending a hill with his platoon against steep odds.  They managed to buy enough time to save the refugees but my dad gave his life to save his best friend Jack harper.  Jack doesn’t talk about the war a lot and I do not try to ask him.

I look up and notice I have wondered to an unknown street.  Looking around I see the army refuting office.  “Hi dad” I say to the wind.  I stand there for a long time pacing slowly in place.  It was the yearly anniversary of my father’s death and I been torn back and forth because I really want to live up to him.  “I’m old enough” I tell myself, “I am 18 years old.”

I do it.  I walk to the recruiting office and enter inside.

In hindsight I would never have done it had I know where I would end up today age 79.  I always wondered what my life would have been like had I not walked into that office august 3rd 1969.

I opened the door walking in.  The air was a welcoming cool on this hot summer day.  I look over hearing a warm welcome, “greetings there, looking to join the army?”

I smile back and nod. “My dad was a 2nd lieutenant” I pause for a moment, “he died in the line of fire.”

“I understand son.  The army can offer many great opportunities….”

I remember little of that day.  Suppressing since it is how my life changed forever.

 

*             *             *

Three years later.

I wade though the weeds in the shallow swamp waters.  I look to my sides checking my squad mates are still there.  Around us the fog is thick and the air is warmly humid.  We have been awake for 23 hours without sleep or rest.  On the run from enemy soldiers we trek across the swamp trying to get the evacuation point before it leaves, but; ahead enemy soldiers are dug in thick and mine fields make it imposable to go around.  We will just have to go through the enemy encampments.

“Dam it, perhaps today is a good day to die.  We’ll never get though that alive!”  ‘Husker’ points out over the enemy encampments.

Without looking over, “We’ll make it.  Okay, move out men.”

The platoon moves out staying low in the tall grass.  The grass scratches the skin where it touches.  The swamp land dries out into an open field.  Tall forest trees surround it on all sides marking the edges of the mine fields.  The ground is parched, void of life, a few stumps burn from recent battle.  The fog thinned close to the enemy camp preventing a good cover from the line of sight.  A shack still stands a couple hundred feet into the field.

Looking around, I gesture to move ahead towards the shack.  Quietly, I exit the water making sure not to alert the enemy.  Moving low and quick in cross step pattern I make my way across the open space.  The platoon makes it in a mere 26 seconds without injury or worse alerting the enemy.

The shed door is ajar with a light coming through space.  I order my men to halt.  I move to the wall on the open side gesturing for two of my soldiers to stand adjacent to me.  After three seconds I breach, my men following.  The light came from a candle on the table illuminated the shack in a soft dim glow.  The smell of blood is thick in the air.  I look to the back and down of the shack.  Laying there severally injured was a fellow marine.  I whisper for a medic, “Medic.”  Our medic rushes over to the marine examining him.  He looks up to me shaking his head, “He’s no longer with us.”  I close my eyes for a moment, “Dam this war” I think to myself.

I regroup my men outside the shack doing a re-assessment of the troop’s status.  We lost a lot of men defending our outpost.  We were shelled early that morning and by the afternoon we were raided by hundreds of elite enemy soldiers.  We were caught off guard when the wall was breached on our flank.  Taking heavy fire I ran to the ammo shed taking an armful of explosives.  Our commander devised a plan to detonate the nearby dam which would flood the north road cutting off the raider’s reinforcements.  This would also cut the power supply for the entire sector.

Two men placed the charges along the wall of the dam setting the timer before they finished.  When the men returned with the remote detonator as backup we were almost surrounded.  “It’s now or never commander.  We have to go now!”   I yell looking at the commander.

“We’ll never make it, their pushing too hard.”

“We have to try”

“No, I will stay behind and give you time to meet the rest of the team at the evac point.”

I look at the commander in protest but he looks right at me, “Go,  there is no time.”

Running fast with now, my, last few men we leave the combat zone dodging enemy fire and explosions.

The commander turns back to the enemy picking up a .50 cal charging the enemy, “TODAY IS A GOOD DAY TO DIE!”  He releases a volley of bullets laying waste to the advancing enemy.  He gets hit in the arm, “Dam it!”  Pushing forward he runs out of ammo.  He takes out his side arm firing his last few shots cutting down seven more enemy soldiers.  Finally out of bullets he stops engaging in hand to hand combat until he is stabbed through the hart by a barrette.

I will make sure he gets the medal of honor for his bravery in battle when this is all over.


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