THE SOLDIER

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
One of my daughters is dating an armed forces fellow. He recently came home for a few weeks leave after returning from Kandahar armed with a gazillion photos and videos of what life is like over there for our soldiers. Inspired by his accounts, and Ashtray Girl’s “YOUR life sucks?”...this piece was born. It is dedicated to all the soldiers both Canadian and American who are fighting in countries and lands the rest of us can barely pronounce and only glimpse as they flash past on the television news.

Submitted: March 27, 2007

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Submitted: March 27, 2007

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THE SOLDIER

The morning alarm clock goes off and we tumble out of bed to grumble and gripe about the early hour of having to go to work and ponder the idea of calling in sick with a lame excuse to eek out that extra day off.

The soldier isn't asked if he would strap on 80 pounds of necessary gear that just may save his life. He is ordered to board a plane and leave his family to fight in a country that is all too willing to kill him rather than accept his help. There's no sick call choice for him.

We jump in the shower, and curse whoever ran the tap or flushed the toilet to cause a blast of freezing water.

The Soldier may go days or weeks without running water or any water that is even drinkable without boiling it first.

Today, I grumbled at my teenagers, for dirtying yet another glass for a drink of the same beverage they had been drinking all day.

The soldiers sit on the ground eating food dropped on cafeteria style sectioned plastic trays with plastic cutlery and packaged beverages.

Regardless of our age, we argue with our siblings and all too often say hurtful things that should never be spoken.

Soldiers are willing to die for one another, regardless of how long or how short a time they have known one another.

We can't imagine leaving home without our cell phones and credit cards.

The soldier holds tightly to the dog tags around his neck that may the only way to identify him.

We gossip and ridicule our "friends" and acquaintances that are not in our immediate company.

The soldier is never sure if the buddy he had dinner with last night will ever return from the field again.

We plan vacations and shopping trips for that perfect pair of matching shoes and handbag.

The soldier walks the darkened streets in search of the terrorist hiding around a corner waiting to take his life.

We complain of weather being too hot, or too cold. Of spring being too wet or fall being too windy.

The soldier sits in burning sand and blinding wind, not daring to remove any part of his gear or helmet just to wipe the sweat from his sun burned brow.

We pay $50.00 for a high priced restaurant dinner, and send it back twice because they didn't cook the steak to our liking or put the wrong potatoes on the plate.

The soldier is in the field under heavy fire and doesn't get to eat again today.

We demand overtime pay because your next shift relief worker is going to be a couple hours late arriving.

The soldier is told his plans for going home have been cancelled and he cant leave for another month.

We call and cancel a dinner date with Mom because we just don't feel like going out today.

The soldier waits anxiously for the mail because he knows Mom will send him a letter.

We complain about the woman with the baby crying that won't be quieted on the bus.

The soldier stares at the picture of the newborn son that he's not yet seen and wonders if he will ever get to hold him.

We see what the news media and television reports want us to see.

The soldier sees the remains of what were once humans and hears the screams of his buddies as they die in his arms.

We complain about the lack of TV channel selection on a particular night when we want to kick back and relax.

The soldier spends his free time writing letters to home that may never even get mailed.

We climb into a soft bed with fresh linen, warm blankets and fluffy pillows.

The soldier crawls into a trench or the shade of a tank only to have sleep robbed by gun fire and mortar.

We rush around at holidays and Christmas to make sure dinner is perfect and every gift wrapped in gold.

The soldier hopes for a letter from home, as he sits solitary on Christmas Eve, alone and cold.

Both Canada and USA have lost good men and women in a war that has to raise the question is this another Vietnam? It's time to bring our troupes home safe. To cry with them when they cry over the loss of a good friend. To listen when they just need to talk of the horrors they have seen. And to hold them as tight as possible when they wake in cold fear of their very souls for the things our governments have ordered them to do.


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