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Monday, October 21, 2013

Warriors

Where did anyone get the idea that being a warrior was fun?

Every fight I've been in, I wanted to be somewhere else. Anywhere else.

There's that song, "Voice of Truth", with the lines:

"...surrounded by the sound of a thousand warriors
shaking in their armor,
and wishing they'd have had the strength to stand..."

Much to Barbara's displeasure, I rewrote one line...

"...surrounded by the sound of a thousand warriors
shaking in their armor,
and wishing they'd have had the sense to stay home..."

It's certainly more representative of most combat infantrymen.

And yet...why do so many return for another tour, forsaking home and family? They get into theater, and bind and moan about everything, and long to return home.

And then look forward to the next deployment.

Is this crazy? Are we madmen, who can't find anything better to do than dice with death like over-the-edge hot-rodders on Mulholland Boulevard?

Or are we cold killers, whose senses are so deadened that we can only feel through nihilism?

And do we love our families so lightly that we can leave them to a final government paycheck...or, for a contractor, sometimes nothing at all?

Are we patriots, looking, like modern-day Nathan Hales, for a place to give that one life for our country?

None of the above, I think...or at least, the above form only small pieces framing a larger whole.

Going into a fight, we're coming home.

Home is a place where life is reduced to elemental factors. Dry is better than wet, warm is better than cold. Defilade - when the enemy can't put direct fire on you - is better than being enfiladed (being shot at).

The guys around you are the most important thing in the world, and you can't let them down.

And that is the key. Your wife may divorce you, your kids may run away, your parents may disown you.

But somewhere out there is a guy who will go back-to-back with you, and is perfectly willing to die with you, surrounded by empty shell cases.

Kind of like Jesus.

7 comments:

  1. Someone willing to go back to back with you... like Jesus. That made me pause for sure. It's powerful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I chose that imagery because - first, I believe it...

      But second, there is a lot of Christ-like behavior among decidedly non-Christ-like people in combat. Jesus enjoined us that the greatest love is to lay down one's life for one's fellows, and that is the glue that maintains small-unit integrity.

      A willingness to die with and for the guys around you - Billy Joel put it beautifully in the haunting "Goodnight Saigon"

      "And we would all
      go down
      together...
      We said we'd all
      go down
      together..."

      Delete
  2. Love this Andrew! Jesus certainly has our back...where would we be without Him? Bless you!

    ReplyDelete