The sky was a deep dark grey
Lightning cracked and thunder rolled for ever
The ground was muddy and impossible to walk on
Thanks to the stinging rain.
The air was heavy and thick
The only smells were gunpowder and blood
Concrete bunkers smelled like complete death
And each squad mate smelt worse and worse
I’d pass a shiny artillery shell some days and see a huge change in myself
Being out here so long my body has gotten weaker and I’ve forgotten the taste of real food
Oh how I longed for a hot plate of my wife’s delicious meatloaf and potatoes
Even that slop at the mess hall would have satisfied my angry stomach right about now
My hands were constantly wrapped around a gun or knife
The feel of cold metal was one thing that actually comforted me
Pulling the trigger became second nature
Realizing that I’d pulled a trigger hundreds of times and was still living made me say a small silent prayer for the soldier that I killed.
Huge artillery guns sounded off every couple of minutes
Even after hearing them for months they still rattled my bones when they fired
Exploding sounds would hit the ground seconds after
And each time it did I wondered if it killed a man or just scared him half to death like it did to me… It was pure hell.
But one morning when the sun was high in the sky
My platoon an I were headed to an advanced position
While jogging I looked down and stopped in my tracks
My mind was in amazement at what my eyes were seeing
My combat boots were completely surrounded by dark red beautiful roses
My eyes filled with tears and my heart dropped to my stomach
It was then that I realized that no matter how much death, destruction, hatred, and just plain old pure ugliness that man can create.
The world is still… and will always… be a beautiful place!