I’m a grump.

I’ve been one my whole life. It became clear to me while I fought in a war on emotion. I stacked up with my squad outside of this house and waited for the word to breach. One of my mates pointed across the street to a window. My vision only beheld the rocket that flew toward us.

“Get down,” I shouted.

The entire stack fell to the ground and covered their heads. Plaster and brick rained down upon us as the shockwave tore through the building. It was falling down a few moments ago, now, it was in even worse shape.

“Is everyone alright,” I called out while choking on dust.

I shook my head to clear it. My eyes didn’t want to work right, either. I blinked my eyes to clear the haze in them. Somehow, I managed to find a safe place out of view and leaned against a wall. My head was abuzz with static, my ears rang with a ferocious eeeeek.

I felt a hand on my shoulder, my friend Bud sat down beside me. “I hate this freaking place,” Bud said as he pulled out a pouch of Red Man tobacco.

He offered me some, I shook my head no. He shoved a wad of chew into his mouth and licked his lips. This was my fourth visit to a war zone. They all had one thing in common, I called it the ‘suck factor.’

Some people love war. I don’t. All my life I wanted to be a soldier. I couldn’t wait to turn 18. For my birthday my girlfriend drove me to the recruiter’s station to sign up. I didn’t sign up for glory or medals or even free college. I signed up to defend my country.

It felt like a calling, a duty, a moral obligation to keep America strong. On the day I left for basic training, I kissed my girlfriend goodbye and got on the plane to my future. She promised to wait for me, to be faithful for all time. The only gal I made that promise to was my country. I thought I loved my girlfriend, but I loved my country more.

The weeks rolled by and I graduated top of my class. My success continued as I climbed the rank structure. I gave it my all. The enemy sneak attacked us, and I volunteered to be in the first wave of our counterattack.

War was in my blood, nothing could change it. Now, here I am again. Politicians declared we are winning, but time has proven there are no winners in war. Both sides lie about the outcome of battle. Both declare themselves victors. The sacrifice of brave men and women cheapened by the theatrics of elected officials.

‘Winners’, or those labeled ‘winners’, depended upon who had the best media coverage. The outcome of a war found its fate in the editing room of major news corporations.Today would not be any different.Our vehicles pulled up, and our machine gunners unloaded on the buildings across from us. We rushed to safety. My ears continued to ring, but there was nothing I could do to fix it.

It was just another day in hell.

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