Shadows of war

Shadows of war

A Story by Coyote Poetry
"

War can catch even the cold in heart.

"











Shadows










I was a Soldier for almost 15 years. I volunteered for every dangerous mission you could be part of. The missions were to Africa, Bosnian, Central and South America and Iraq. I had no fear of death. I have seen dead enemy soldiers and the poor innocent civilians in the way of hate and war. I wasn't effected by war. I was raised in Detroit. I saw my first dead body at four years old.  I watched my uncle died. I was raised with the Vietnam war and body counts were part of my life. My father served in the Korean war and I volunteered for Vietnam at 17 year old. I learn even the cold in heart can be affected by war. Funny part the shadows of war showed up after I left the military.

I left the service in the year 2000. The Army gave me a hard time on enlistment. I decide better to be with family and take the chance in the civilian sector. I joined the reserved. I went to two meetings. The unit didn't asked my name or rank. I wrote a letter of resign because I was working two jobs and no time for the B.S. My friend did the same. He left three months before I did. He joined a good unit. He had 23 year between active duty and reserve time. The additional time would be a good bonus for his retirement. He stayed in the National Guard. My friend and I were station for 12 year at Fort Hood, Texas and Fort Steward, Georgia. We raised our kids up together. He was the person I trusted with my family when I was deployed.  He trusted me with his kids also. Soldiers are a close family. If one Soldier had a problem, We would gather our funds to insure the Soldier would be Okay. We came back from a deployment from Fort Irvin, California. I went home to my wife. My friend showed up and told me his wife and kids were gone and he did not know where. I called the First Sergeant. He told me to go with my friend to insure nothing went wrong. We traveled to Michigan and back to Texas. Took three months for him to track down his wife. I stood with him and try to insure he was okay. He went to court to get his kids back. I traveled back and fore with him to court. In the end, the judge gave the kids to the mother. He got his kids twice a month. I would travel with him to pick up and take back  his two girls. I would buy them treats for my friend had little extra funds.

Every Summer we got together and spend a few days together. We were both from Michigan. He lived about 60 miles from my home. In the Summer of 2004. I didn't hear from my friend. I called his parent. His mother gave me his address in Iraq. I sent him some western books. He like the cowboys stories. He was a real country boy. He like the country and working hard. In the Spring of 2005. I called his parent. I asked was my friend back from Iraq. This time I got the father. He told me. He is dead. He was killed in Iraq in August 2004. I went silence for a few seconds. I thanks the father and hung the phone up.

I told my wife our friend was killed in Iraq and I went into my bedroom. My wife joined me and we cried for hours. I didn't believe my old friend was dead. I went into a silence and stayed away from people. Poor family watched me fall apart and get meaner. I went to work and told my boss. My good friend was killed in Iraq. He didn't care. My family learn about the death of my friend. They tried to pull me out of the depression. There were no words to fix me.

I went into a dark depression. Watching the TV. Checking the names of the Soldiers killed in Iraq. I went to the computer. I researched the names of the dead. I found three more Soldiers I knew. I lost interest in all things. I sat by my computer, pissed off. I wondered if I stayed in. Maybe I could of saved his life? Maybe could of been different?

A year later. Wife told me she called the mother of my friend. We were going to their house and they would take us to the grave of my friend. They invited me to meet the family and wanted to meet me. I drove the sixty miles in silence. I had no idea what was going to happen?

We arrived at the parent house. Three of the brother and sisters were there to meet me.I hugged each of them and thank them for the invite. They told me. They were glad to meet a friend of their brother.  I hug the mother and shook the father hand. He apologizes for the hard way he told me of his son death. I told him. I appreciate the invite. The mother took me to a display. It had my friends picture and all his decorations and metals. I started to cry. The mother came to me and we cried together.  We served 12 years together and the moment at display I realized he was dead.

We sat in the living room. I told them stories of their son. I told them. Their son was my daughter first babysitter. My wife wanted to go out. He volunteers. We dropped my daughter off. She was happy with the two daughters to entertain her. I told my friend. If any problems. Leave the light on. We will pick her up that night. At 2.30 am  we drove by and all the lights were on. My friend was holding my yelling daughter with a smile and happiness we shown up. We were training at Fort Irvin, California. Three young black Soldiers couldn't put the stake in the hard desert sand. My friend bet he could put the 24 inch stake in with one hit. They took the $5.00 bet. In one swing of the large jack hammer he put the stake 18 inches into the ground. I told them. I miss his smile and him forcing me to watch the rodeo and WWF.

They told me he got marry three years ago. He met a good woman who made him happy. He had a good life at the end. They told me they were glad that their son had a good friend. I told them. He had many good friends. His oldest brother gave me some photos. The photos were of a painted fence. Written on the fence was. "Freedom isn't free. Some have given all for freedom." 

I follow the parent to the graveyard. It was a small town. They had a place for Soldiers lost to war. The mother walked with me to the grave. The grave had flowers from his daughter and his wife. I went and touched the grave. I begin to cried. The mother came to me and held me like a child. She told me. My son would appreciate you coming today. She left me alone. I made a silence promise to help his daughters.   I looked up and I saw tears in the father's eyes. 

The mother gave me some shells from the 21 gun salute and a DVD of the funeral.  I drive home in silence.  I put the DVD in. My friend was a volunteer fireman. The fireman, Soldiers and whole town were at the funeral at the high school. The whole town came out to say goodbye to a hero. A thousand people cried tears for my friend. His daughter read a poem. Brought the honor guard soldiers to tears. 

I accepted losing my good friend that day. I had to say goodbye. I learn when they announce a Soldier death on TV. People are learning sadness and regret. I'm thankful for my friend's parent and my wise wife. I had to face my friend for the last time and say goodbye.

Today I want to return to my friend grave and thank him for his friendship. I want to bring his favorite beer "Miller". Sit and drink the beer with him and talk with him alone. Tell him save a seat for me. Us old Soldiers need to sit and talk. I want to hear his laughter and see his smile again.




© 2012 Coyote Poetry



Author's Note

Coyote Poetry
Any error. Please assist a old writer. Never too old to learn.

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Featured Review

As many people have already said, this was a very true to life piece, and it has a lot of emotional ties on the reader, as it is obvious the writer had emotional ties to it. I enjoyed it for that reason, and for it’s historical value—It’s never really covered how much soldiers actually go through, and even when it is, there is a sort of sugar coating to keep it from being to “serious” on whoever is viewing it.

There were grammatical errors throughout the story, missing S’s and present tense instead of past tense in some cases. They didn’t detract too much from the story, but for me at least, they were noticeable.

Overall it is a nice piece, well done.

Posted 5 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

This story is very sad, I felt I could cry. War touches all in many terrible ways. I am glad that you both had one another; that you both did so well together. It's also wonderful that you did get your closure in the end. Your wife was definitely very wise, and I am sure you brought much comfort to your friend's family.

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Oh wow, so deep, and very personal. I can feel heartache in this write.
It's just too powerful to express anything on. Nicely written out.

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

this a great piece of work man, as a vet of the marine coprs I can understand you very much on this thank you for sharing....

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I don't know how to critique a true-to-life piece. It's deeply personal, and anything "constructive" might be taken wrong, you know? It's great to read about another's experiences and history, and I enjoyed it for that reason.

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I am thankful for gifted writers that can write of experiences that changed their lives. Your writing always teaches and inspires me. I had an older brother that went to Vietnam and never returned home. This writing helped me ponder on the pain of losing him and the great sacrifice of our soldiers. Thank you for sharing this writing my friend....I am thankful for your sacrifice and pray for peace of mind and a life filled with contentment, enjoyment in simple pleasures in life. You deserve it.
In Native culture....we have what is called an "Enemyway ceremony" to help those caught in the web of death, war and all that comes with it, a release of negative fallout from these painful experiences. It is several days long and involves the whole family and community. We have been practicing this for centuries.....PEACE my brother.

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I can just imagine the heartache that you experienced at the loss of your friend. I could feel the deep depression that your soul entered in to. I smile as I see the lessons learned and the acceptance in your story's end. Well penned Poet.

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

John, who searches for errors in PERFECTION. Not looking for favourite areas, or more heartbreaking sentences or the best description .. this is more than words, it's heart, spirit and love. A writer couldn't say more, and - neither could a man.

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

love it my m8 die when he was 18 but he was ill it was a sad day still miss him to day .and you allways will love to have more info on where you both where make it a lot better for me you all heroes

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

got married again ...Sad, Beautiful, Wonderful story.

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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Pax
wow, enjoyed your life's story with your friend. and this really struck me the most "Freedom isn't free. Some have given all for freedom." in all my life i never knew war is really sad and horrible, maybe because i avoided the movies of war and shrug the news about war before(young-ones, not minding to much of the world and i kinda hate conflicts and war), now i can see much clearly in your story. A very well written story with a lot of friendships that turns into sadness.

Posted 5 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on April 6, 2012
Last Updated on June 16, 2012
Tags: war, sadness, friendship

Author

Coyote Poetry
Coyote Poetry

MI



About
A Poet and writer who love to read and write. My pleasure is reading about the bad and good in a life. Also to honor the Poets/Writers of the past by reading their words. Remembe.. more..

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