1.1 We the People
Sleepless, he writes, “I know you don’t understand why I am far away, I carry you in my heart every moment of every day. I miss your smiles, cuddles and wet kisses. I look to the stars and rest in thoughts of you becoming whatever you chose someday. It’s ok to be angry, but I’m always going to be right there inside your heart.
Red white and blue. The reflecting sunlight. The smell of the impending rain. The distant sound of the trumpet. Snapping to attention, and rendering a salute. Holding my hand up flat, fingers stuck together as if they were superglued with my thumb aligned slightly above the corner of the right eyebrow. No words, personal reflection. To salute is to show honor and respect.
Always yelling, barking commands. The smell of urine and vomit from people pissing their pants and throwing up. One male was yelled at “pick that shit up private and put it in your pocket, stop littering my yard.” Heart pounding boom boom, boom boom. I couldn’t change my mind. Nowhere to hide. Is the smell of plastic, and the fragments of rock pushing into my palms on the concrete, what the next eight weeks were going to be like? My blouse drenched in sweat, providing a moment of relief on this humid windless day.
2.1 We the People
Deep long breaths taking in my scent. Comfort in the silence of my mother’s arms Gazing into one another’s eyes. Watching them puddle up with tears. Being strong, ever so trying to not allow them to fall. Hugs squeeze the organs, painful surges, breath taken away. Not one word spoken but I could feel her pain. Tissues causing red noses. My shirt stained by the snot and tears of our loved one’s goodbyes. No way to avoid their sorrow for one never knows what tomorrow holds.
Whistling in the wind. Patch upon my right shoulder. Gentle and soft to the touch. Strong to endure any environmental elements. In the dark the colors are illuminated with a soft glow from underneath. Recognized by all, respected by most. Blood, sweat, and tears. Oh if only it could speak about the wars it has seen. The sacrifices made which allow it to wave free.
Flag blowing in the wind. Heart pounding. Sweaty armpits leaking down the triceps. Stomach in knots. Fear provides self-correction. Newly assigned. Expected to perform above standard. Stiff and orderly cognitive of each movement….every breath. Feeling my lungs fill up, pushing my chest forward with each exhale my muscles relax. Dark basement surrounding a grey chain linked fence. The smell of plastic equipment surrounds me. Confined.
3.1 We the People
Phone call, silent hesitation. “Are you there?” Echo “Yes” Excitement consumes both. A small tear trickled down his cheek. Wiped away by a quick shoulder shrug. He begins with questions; asking how the children are, how the weather is, what’s new. Anything but talking about the hot, windy sand covered environment in which he will battle every moment of every day for the next 365. The kids pop on, it’s amazing to hear their voice, so carefree. Suddenly “Daddy when are you coming home? We all miss you, don’t you love us anymore? I’m mad you are away. Goodbye.”
The long and vivid colors were removed from the coffin and, ceremonially folded. Thirteen folds in a tri corned shape representing the tri corned hat worn by the Patriots in the American Revolution, and the 13 original colonies. No red or white stripes showing. The now blue tri corned shape is presented to the grieving. Tears in the eyes, trying to stay strong “On behalf of a grateful Nation, please accept this flag as a symbol of our appreciation for your loved ones honorable and faithful service.” Taps. Commands. “ Port Arms, (pause) some attendees eyes close in preparation “fire,” silence, “fire”, silence, “fire” silence ”Order Arms”. Her final goodbye. Now, a dark shadow box encompasses the flag. Above it are memorabilia such as; an array of colorful medals, rank, and deployment patch. Beside it sits a picture of her fallen Soldier. A soft light shines on the shadow box illuminating the flag every moment of every day, and with each pass her eyes welled up at the thought that her child had sacrificed his life so others might live free.
BOOM! Rat tat tat. Tears in eyes. Blood. Lifeless body. Flag covered coffin. Final Salute.