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A Soldier's Lament

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Home,
Thank God,
I am home at last.

A return to sanity,
And the security of knowing,
That I am home.

An opportunity to begin anew,
To rebuild a life,
Once torn apart.

Nevertheless constrained, even forced,
To recall the memories, the feelings,
Of yet another time.

The agonizing reality of having had to battle an enemy,
One that I never knew,
One that I never even wanted to know.

Thinking back,
About all of those moments,
The choices I seemingly had to make.



The orders,
To shoot and to kill,
My enemy.

Some inanimate object on the horizon,
An outline, a moving target,
A human frame "but certainly not a human being."

Squinting eyes,
Peering through crosshairs,
Ready to fire upon my foe.

Flickering,
Conscience,
Subdued.

Triggered discharge,
Fired missile,
Shouldered recoil.

No blood, no guts,
No sounds,
No movement.

Just the cold and dreary silence,
Of knowing that I did a job,
That had to be done.

But once again,
I am,
Home.

No more officers ordering to kill,
No more bombs "bursting in air,"
Not even an enemy with whom to shed my blood.

Yet all alone, separated from my comrades,
The wretched few who understand the horrors of war,
Those who can share the raging pain of an aching soul.

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Doug Soderstrom is a retired Professor of Psychology having taught for forty-two years at the college level. He was a columnist for the Populist Party of America (www.populistamerica.com/now discontinued) and has been a feature writer for (more...)
 

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