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A/N: Pulled this from the archives, in light of current events in Gaza, but it applies everywhere!
Although written in the first person, it is not a personal piece, but a reflection of the grief a family goes through in wartime.



Casualties of War!


A soft Spring rain gently mists the windows, while the wipers softly keep time to the sound of drums pounding their relentless beat.

As we turn the corner, I see a huge crowd has gathered to witness the spectacle...hands to their hearts...as the flag draped casket is removed and given over to the Honor Guard who will escort him to his final resting place. We silently take our places and while the Chaplain intones the invocation, my mind wanders back to another time...another place.

A curly haired toddler clinging to my skirts, not wanting to let go;

A five year old, trying to master his bike without training wheels;

A little leaguer, hitting his first home run;

Handmade Valentines, stuck to my refrigerator long after the holiday is gone;

A high school freshman, nervously preparing for his first date;

A handsome young man at his Senior Prom;

His first car (and the sleepless nights that followed, waiting to hear him pull into the driveway!)

The sounds of laughter permeating the house as he entertained his friends.

Abruptly, I am shocked back to reality by the sound of rifles being fired in salute, followed by the plaintive strains of taps,the last note of which is left trailing softly into the atmosphere, almost as a final sigh at the incongruity of it all.

The Adjutant hands me the carefully folded flag that had been removed from the casket in preparation for the burial. His softly weeping siblings, place a hand on my shoulder and I glance at my husband, whose trembling chin belies the stoic stance he has exhibited throughout this ordeal.

I know that our lives have been altered forever...there is a void that can never be filled. "He was a Hero" we have been told, over and over again, as if that could somehow assuage our grief. I kneel at the grave and sob a final farewell, dropping a crumpled rose into the cavity.

As I slowly rise to face the endless months and years that lie ahead, I am struck by an old adage: "Old men plot the wars...Young men die in them!" And I silently add: "And their loved ones die along with them!")

Rest in Peace my son.




------



------
Grandma Bea


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Comments

The following comments are for "Casualties of War!"
by Beatrice Boyle

@ Beatrice
Even in my faith, while war is an unfortunate consequence of life, it is an unnatural state of affairs, for it causes the world's most terrible misfortune, an event that is outside the natural order of things: It causes parents to bury their children, instead of children burying their parents.

Truly, almost the entire world is out of balance now, and osogbo (the spiritual principles of misfortune) are running rampant and unchecked in our world.

Ochani

( Posted by: OchaniLele [Member] On: January 8, 2009 )

Sorry Dagger!
John...I'm so sorry your brother is going to Afghanistan...He will be in my prayers!

Bea

( Posted by: Beatrice Boyle [Member] On: January 9, 2009 )

fantastic
Gramma B,
Being ex-military all I did was play dominoes and read war poetry. I suppose to prepare my mind in a way that it would understand what is not to be comprehended. My heart sunk as I read, but kept in mind your disclaimer at the beginning. Yet, the narrative has been replayed countless times... too many times.
but the work itself is fantastic as always.
With Love,
RW

( Posted by: Robert Walker [Member] On: January 10, 2009 )

Thanks Robert!
It is inconceivable to me that this scene...or a facimile of...has been played out over hundreds of generations...with no end in site!

Let's all say a silent prayer for our military and the families who also suffer!

Happy New Year!

Bea

( Posted by: Beatrice Boyle [Member] On: January 10, 2009 )

@ Bea
God's grace ease your pain and keep your son with Him. We all thank your son for his heroism, his sacrifice, and morn his loss. Bless you for sharing this sad moment with us.

( Posted by: jonpenny [Member] On: January 10, 2009 )

Jonpenny...
Jonpenny...thank you for your condolences, but as I said in my disclaimer (A/N) this was not a personal experience, but a composite of ALL families who go through this horrible tragedy!

I can think of no greater sorrow,than the death of a child, no matter how old they may be...espcially through senseless warfare!

Bea

( Posted by: Beatrice Boyle [Member] On: January 10, 2009 )

Sorry Bea
I missed the disclaimer and fell into the piece. I don't feel as foolish as I probably should because this is real to so many families and it just hit home to me. I have a son, nephews and nieces in the military and I dread hearing bad news- all have been in harms way and out and in again so many times. Although each one says that they are doing great and needed work. It's hard for us at home to understand. Thanks for the gentleness and not pointing out what a moron I am.

( Posted by: jonpenny [Member] On: January 10, 2009 )

One the contrary jonpenny!
On the contrary...one need never apologize for having a compassionate heart...the world needs more of them for sure!!!

My prayers are with your family who are in harms way!

Bea

( Posted by: Beatrice Boyle [Member] On: January 10, 2009 )

@ Beatrice
I don't know if you noticed, but I featured this in February's "Majestic." I felt it was the best piece of short fiction to run through our server.

It touched me.

Ochani

( Posted by: OchaniLele [Member] On: February 6, 2009 )





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