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The trench was damp and musty. Added to this was the stench of death emanating from those who had already charged the enemy trenches. Every time they were ordered over the top they were mowed down by machine gun fire. Barry had called this trench home for the past two weeks. That's how long the enemy had pinned them down. He was a long way from home on foreign soil where the enemy spoke a strange tongue.
The roar of the mortar fire overhead was constant and deafening. Sometimes the shells would find their mark, taking out soldiers as they huddled in the trench. We were not even safe in the trench Barry thought. Although, the mortars were not as accurate as the machine guns so they had a better chance than out there.
The call from the major rang out in Barry's ears, a gong of impending doom. "Company 8 is to go over at dawn. Fit your rifles with bayonets. Your objective is the enemy trench to the north east. Company 7 will charge the northern trench. Sunrise is at 4:52 so there will be some light but the hill on our right should provide some shadow and make it difficult for the enemy to see us. Good luck and God bless."
Would this be the end for me? Barry wondered. And the men I am so close to? The war had engendered a close bond between him and those he fought alongside. There was a sense of camaraderie among men who faced danger, even death.
He thought about those he would be leaving behind. His mother and father, his sisters and most of all his girlfriend, dear Rose. They had made a pact to get married when he returned, but now that will never happen. He hoped that the would not grieve too much and prayed that God would comfort them.
Though this would spell the end for many of his mates he knew it wasn't really the end for him. He believed that the death Jesus had suffered was for his sins. He would be going straight to glory with his Lord Jesus. He braced himself for the coming onslaught and took comfort in This hope.
The first rays of sun began to appear. It would soon be time to go. The ladders were put in place to climb the verge of the trench. Barry took his place at the foot of one of them. His heart was filled with apprehension as he awaited the signal. Tears rolled down his cheeks, a mixture of fear and regret. He knew he would not survive the onslaught. Not many who had breached the verge before him had returned alive. He wondered at the futility of the battle. So many men going to their deaths and what for? To gain a few yards?
The whistle blew and Barry threw himself over the verge. He climbed to his feet and began to run. He can't have made any more than twenty yards before the bullets ripped through his chest. He fell immediately. Searing heat spread through his chest and he began to gasp for air. As the chaos and the horror of the battle continued around him Barry felt a peace come over him as he finally closed his eyes and welcomed death.
On the stage of war many young men sacrificed their lives for their country. But their sacrifices had temporary consequences and their deaths were final. Jesus sacrifice has eternal consequences. Jesus died so that we may peace with God. He rose from the tomb so that we may enjoy eternal life.
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