(I wrote this blog several years ago, but I had to re-release it today. I still remember that soldier and this morning watching the news opened a flood gate of memories of my time serving and my strong feelings about it. War is not sexy, to be honest, I’m not sure if its really necessary, but regardless of necessity, it will always exist.)
As a writer, I’m always fascinated with words that create emotions. You know, the words that make you stop reading and make you start imagining being in the storyline.
The other morning while I was rushing to get dressed. I caught the tail end of an interview with WWII veteran on the news. It was in celebration of June 6th the anniversary of D-Day, the storming of Normandy Beach in 1944.
The story caught my attention being an ex-military officer, but the words from this veteran made me stop. His words caught me off guard and made me think, “What If” I were there? What would I have done? I felt the emotions behind his words and they made my heart swell.
The soldier was asked to reflect back to that morning and remember what he witnessed on that history-making day.
At that moment he hesitated and his eyes glassed over as if he traveled back to relive history. He was an enlisted man in charge of lowering the back gate of the Light Infantry Landing Craft to allow soldiers off to shore.
The first image he recalled was the sound of gunfire, particularly a 50 cal. tearing through the air and soldiers screaming all around. His sergeant ordered him to lower the gate. The enlisted soldier ignored the command initially because he knew by the destructive sounds what waited beyond the metal walls of the craft. The sergeant repeated the command and then he finally followed his orders.
The veteran soldier stated 30 men left the craft and only three made it to shore.
The words that followed next shook me even more and made me live in his storyline of horror and bravery.
Again he hesitated, his eyes were no longer glassed over, but rather they were focused as if asking or pleading with his audience to understand his point of view. “I was surrounded by death. All those men lay dying. Do you know the last name they asked for? It wasn’t God they were calling on. They were begging for their mothers. Mom was the last name they called.”
I have two things to say:
1. To my military family, Thank you to all the brave soldiers and support personnel that continue to serve and Thank you to all the soldiers and their families that served and did not make it home.
2. And to my writers, my new family, I wish you much success in finding the right combination of words that evoke your reader to take that journey with you. The world is in need of good truthful writers to tell our story.