The heat is unbearable. It is another hot day per usual, but I feel cold inside. I am cold because I know that a bitch named Death is waiting for me only miles away, perhaps even closer. A conniving and treacherous bitch she is, but I am not meant to meet her. Other than the sounds of the spinning blades and overworked engine, I am crowded by silence. Emptiness sits on my lap. I look around at the faces of the men around me, similar thoughts tickle their brains. I do what my mother has taught me to do at times like this, I put my head down and talk to my Father.
With my eyes closed, I reach past by dog tags and pull out the chain I identify to the most. The chain my mother gave me which is anchored by a crucifix. I know He is always listening so I shut out the sounds around me and whisper to Him. I ask Him to keep me safe. I ask Him to give me the strength and courage to protect my loved ones. To protect the millions of people who go to sleep every night feeling safe. To protect the politicians who sent me here and the civilians that will only experience war through media. Lastly, to protect the men that have joined the same cause. Amen. I tuck away my cross and caress the next thing I rely on most, my cold steel fate-maker.
When I open my eyes I remember that I am not alone. I feel comfort knowing that I’m surrounded by my brothers in arm. I am a part of a special group. A group in which I know that the man beside me, no matter his race, sexual preference, or religious belief will have my back. No where else do I feel confident saying that. Together we will put an end to all our enemies, both foreign and domestic.
Once my boots kiss the dirt, everything is behind me. My training is automatically triggered and I know one thing, I am a soldier. I live by a code of honor and will defend my country with every breath.
For the men and women that stand in harm’s way. For the men and women that are fortunate enough to never see combat, but have lived years of their life on standby, ready and willing to do what they must.
– Vic Louis