The following story was e-mailed to me by Piccolo with a request to post it. He did not give credit to the author. I hope he will jump in and post the author. Perhaps he wrote it himself. It is no secret here that I am VERY partial to our Veterans. Warriors gave us this great Country and Warriors have kept it going for us. Read the story, give it some thought. Please post whether it touched you the way it did me. Kinda long, so it will take two posts:
[b]He was just some poor bastard that got his pecker in a wringer. It don’t mean squat what he looked like, where he came from, or what he was before he got to his outfit. It don’t mean nothing, no how.
He was what people describe as a good kid. Never caused trouble, except for the time he got into a little mischief as a kid. He attended church, and was involved in his religion. The Rabbi, Minister, or Padre, or whoever it was, taught him well. He was on his way to being a decent, well-adjusted person. He was taught the values of the Ten Commandments, one of them being: “Thou shalt not kill”.
Sometime along the history of this country, there was a major social problem; another power threatened the country. So the pretty normal guy did what he thought was right and enlisted in the army.
He did well in training, but had a problem with being taught to kill his fellow man. During rifle training, he sought out the chaplain and they had a long talk about what his future would bring. The chaplain explained to him that sometimes there was a time to kill. He returned to the range the next day and did fairly well. He also took the rest of his training seriously and did well. He became a good soldier. Or maybe he was a Marine. Who knows what he was? It doesn’t really matter, does it?
Several months later, it happened on a patrol with eight other fairly similar men. The poor bastard was walking point, about 150 yards ahead and was casing out the remains of a pretty shot up building. Three enemy soldiers popped out and scared the hell out of him. They were as scared as he was. They all stared at each other. He reacted first with a quick rifle shot to the first enemy soldier. The second one he hit with a solid butt stroke. Soldier number two went down. At least for a while, but in hitting him he lost the grip on his rifle.
He jerked his knife out of it’s sheath and with a quick stroke, disemboweled the third soldier, and quickly followed it up with a fast thrust to the man’s ribs. The knife got stuck. He was forced to leave it in the dead man’s ribs.
As he turned, he saw the second soldier getting up and trying to grab his rifle. He dove on him, managed to pin his head back, and put his mouth on his adversary’s throat. He opened his mouth and chomped down hard.
The Carotid was the first to go and the man felt and tasted the blood of his enemy, an instant later he ripped the enemy’s throat out with his teeth. He felt the man go limp and got up.
But only for a second. As the rest of his squad advanced to try help him out, a machine gun opened up on them and they hit the dirt fast and hard.
Our soldier managed to find cover, but about fifty yards away; he saw that the lieutenant was sprawled out. He’d been hit. Our soldier grabbed his rifle, and dashed the fifty yards to the young officer and dragged him to a shallow ditch. He didn’t do this out of concern so much as he did this out of fear; he didn’t want to face the enemy alone. He was a scared young man and the wounded lieutenant would provide at least some kind of human company.
From the ditch, he had a halfway decent shot at the position, so he lined up his rifle sights and one by one cut down the enemy machine gun crew. His marksmanship was good. He had learned well from his training.
As a result of his violence, the patrol, and eventually the company advanced. Because the company advanced, so did the Battalion.
Another result of this violence went unnoticed by everybody else; His taste in meat had changed. Prior to this fight, he used to love thick, rare beefsteaks. After this, he seldom ate a steak, and, on the rare times he did, he insisted that it was cooked extra well done. Like shoe leather, bone dry, with no juices whatsoever. Rare beef would make him gag. It was to be this way for the rest of his life.
The rest of the patrol considered him a hero, and so the incident was duly reported. Eventually the paperwork caught up and shortly thereafter he was given a medal that cost the grateful government about $3.63. He was later to discover that the medal, along with a dime, could get him a cup of coffee.
He served well for the rest of the war, killed when he had to, and managed to survive. He was wounded in a later campaign. For his wound he was given a Purple Heart, worth about $2.48. At the end of the war he came home. The cabbie at the train station commented on his medals and told him what a great guy he was and promptly overcharged him. He quietly paid. He had been taught as a kid not to argue and create a public spectacle.
He got out of the cab and walked into the tavern a block away, wanting a stiff drink, but the bartender would not serve him because he was a couple weeks shy of his 21st birthday. Another veteran of an earlier war took compassion on him and took him outside and produced a bottle and gave him a nip. He needed it before he could walk into the family home.
When he came home, he took his mustering out pay and moved out of the family home a week later. He was uncomfortable with his mother telling the neighbors what a hero he was. Telling his mom the whole story was out of the question. Better she thought he had cleanly killed some enemy soldiers from a distance with a rifle. He knew his mom could live with that.
After all, how do you explain to your own mother that you ripped the throat of another human being out with your teeth? Not after the way she took all that time out to raise him to be kind and decent. No way in hell. Besides, he was too ashamed to tell her about how the demons came in the night. Better, he thought, to deal with the demons alone.
The demons came often.