Operation Reckless Abandon

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“The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.” -Douglas MacArthur

He feels far from a heavyweight, but more like such deadweight, as he sits back to contemplate, his most unfortunate fate. Never before has he been so desperate, having to ask to be given food upon a silver plate. His life is no canvas, but rather a mud-stained glass. And every other passerby would cast the proverbial first stone, concluding he must have been stoned, and that was why he had to atone. Judge not lest ye be judged. But it ain’t so! Not in the land where every free man and woman wields a gavel for show. The jury, in its mandatory duty, deliberates only momentarily, and soon brings down the heavy hand of judgment upon him. And so when the sun’s rays go dim, he finds a cemented court and lays his shabby head underneath a net-less rim. Concrete heavens are plentiful all across this vast rainforest, and yet for one like him finding a decent place to rest, is a more difficult test, than climbing Mount Everest. Oases abound the land of the free like pantries full of dessert, but for his part he is intolerated, denigrated, isolated, and excommunicated, to a concrete desert. After all, he was just a necessary sacrifice, even after having willingly paid the ultimate price; and not only once but twice. Vietnam was such a long time ago but he still vividly recalls his frantic voice yelling, “Mayday, Mayday!” It was as if his fighter jet had been shot down just yesterday. Oh and by the way, just the other day, some good Christians stopped by to pray, thanking God it was Friday; but said they had nothing more to give or say.

If losing an eye in ‘Nam was an injury, then the insult had to be Iraq, where his tour of duty resulted only in a wooden plaque. Well, that and a fancy, modern day wooden leg, whose maintenance costs eventually got him evicted from his bed of sheets; and stripped him of any remnant dignity, thereby forcing him into the streets, with no other option left but to beg. But what of that good old G.I. Bill? Isn’t that part of Uncle Sam’s will? He’s been advised to look into it and to use his head. But what’s the point, the funds must have gone to some corporate G.I. Joes instead. As it stands he has nothing left to his name that would necessitate drafting his own will; well, nothing but a fading deadly skill. And even that he cannot pass on, as all his loved ones have long since passed on. To think that for him the only spoils he’s ever gotten from fighting for this soil, have been the tons of aluminum foil, he uses to preserve what little he gathers from his daily toil. What’s worse, teenagers walk about him taking tons of photos on their smartphones, and deliberating amongst themselves what would make a good Instagram #hashtag. Unbelievable, his teenage friends once only concerned themselves with what would keep them from coming home in a body bag. Tags for likes, he hears them say. What a shame, it used to be tags for lives, back in his day. Truly, this world has become unlike anything he’s ever seen before! Is this what he’d spent his whole life fighting for?

Interestingly enough, while he has lost faith in man he hasn’t altogether lost faith in the Maker of man. Although to be fair, he has had his fair share of doubt. But a hardened man like him knows it is futile to go about and pout. For starters, he shouldn’t have made it this far, not after land mines in Baghdad once blew up his squad car. He wasn’t the sole soldier within and yet when the dust settled he was the sole survivor without. When his life was at its pinnacle, he did believe in The Word, and in that mysterious word, miracle. Besides, at this time in his life, his time in life is near its end. So he figures that for what Faith is worth it would be most unwise to give it all up now; to abandon Time itself, and the One who is at once the Beginning and the End. Using sticks and stones and his broken bones, he carefully carves what would be his last words into the mud near his fence-less makeshift home, “End the wars, and bring our troops home!” And as he lays his weary head to rest once more underneath that sturdy, rusty old rim, he has one final but familiar dream: That America the Beautiful, would one day also be, America the Faithful.

P.S. “If we don’t end war, war will end us.” -H.G. Wells

Comments

  1. Beautifully put! You have an amazing way with words! I’m glad you’re able to use your talent to raise awareness like this! Admirable indeed!

    • Thanks a million! I thank God for the ability. I have an ambitious plan to make a touching video for this poem this summer, which I hope could go viral, in an effort to simultaneously showcase the quality and integrity of my work to very many. Gratitude!

  2. This is amazing, you did a great job!

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