No matter my personal beliefs on the "war on terror" those are still American citizens across the sea, far from home, fighting for my country. Papa Ewok sent this to me, and it seemed appropriate for this time of year when I'm sure there is not one among the soldiers who doesn't wish he was home, safe in the U.S, planning what to do for New Years Eve.
The following was found among my maternal grandmother's personal effects. It appears to be a story/letter written by one of her eldest son's friends. But who wrote it, or who it was written to, I do not know.
Here I am huddled in this dreary, cold trench thousands of miles from home. Home, where it is cold in the winter sometimes, but a different kind of cold. A nippy wind, that makes a man hustle to get his work done and into the house for a cup of hot coffee and maybe some fresh, hot cinnamon rolls, dripping with butter and caramel sauce. Or if a fellow is lucky, a piece of apple pie hot and steaming from the oven.
But here I am instead, crouching, cramped and stiff with a freezing wind blowing into my face. I have to keep facing this blood chilling breeze because out there, somewhere in the dark, death is waiting for me and for thousands of my countrymen. Death dealt out by Communists’ guns. Death, waiting, waiting, waiting to strike on this day.
Fifty years ago, in 1918, men ended a great war. Twenty-three years later in 1945, men ended another great war, a war to end all wars, so all men thought; or hoped then. November 16th, 1968, fifty years after the first big war of our time we are still waiting to kill or be killed. This is the cold that freezes the blood. The cold fear of unexpected death, on a cold unfriendly night.
Ten years ago today I was home for a visit. A peaceful, happy time visiting with the boys. Who are the boys? The fellows with whom I went to school all through the grades and high school. The boys! How well I remember the Halloween night when 14 of us went to the stockyards, on the edge of town, with our shotguns and fired them into the air. We fired them one at a time in quick succession. I stood in front like a drill sargent and called off the names, Earl, Tom, Jerry, Art and so on down the line. As their name was called, they fired. We went through the line twice. Twenty-eight shots rang out in quick succession. What a beautiful noise we thought at the time. But now when we hear a shot we remember maybe the next will have our name written on it.
Now the boys do not fire into the air. They shoot straight and it is not a beautiful noise. They drop and lie still. Soon they are cold.