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May 20, 2024

I was a soldier once

By Patrick Devine

I was a soldier once, fast, strong, young, and smart. I stood with the deadly and was counted dangerous
amongst them. I have fought on foreign soil for things that did not own my heart and have plumbed the
depths of my soul for it's last ounce of true loyalty. I have known the loneliness of a night vigil at a distant
post and the joy of a dawn victory surrounded by hard won friends. I have defended the weak and the sacred.
I have known justice as a craftsman knows a well worn tool but too I have represented iniquity.

I cry now. Time and distance and the violence of battle has removed my health, my sanity, and the comrades I held dear.
I have never feared death, for I do not believe it to be an end except to mortal pain, and I do not fear it now.
I fear being useless. If nothing else I ask for a warm soft spot from which to tell stories to the coming generations,
so they too might one day stand, knowing they once shined in the sun and their deeds might not be forgotten.

Article © Patrick Devine. All rights reserved.
Published on 2005-01-23
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