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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Christmas Cards (11/06/08)

TITLE: 1967 -2007 A Brothers Story
By Paul Potenza
11/06/08


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1967 & 2007 A Brother's Story

1967

I stood on the street looking in.

I heard the laughter and the singing and I remembered a thousand Christmases in my past where I was a part of the celebration. Today I was just a spectator.

I had returned on a late night flight from Phu Bai, VietNam. December 1967. I hadn't gone home yet. Just walking around on Parris Island. I'd killed my last man 1 day ago. A bullet strike to the neck. I crawled up next to him and held him in my arms while his Christmasses drained out of his arteries. I'd be a liar if I said I didn't cry.

Anyway, I had returned to "the world" and I really didn't feel ready to rejoin. I wanted a few minutes to process things before I took the redeye back to Rhode Island. As I walked the streets, I could hear the carolers wth their songs of Peace on Earth & Good Will Towards Men and I started to cry again.

2007

I stood on the street looking in.

I heard the laughter and the singing and I remembered my brother telling me about VietNam and the day he came home. I had caught the last flight out of the AnBar province in Iraq to land at Charleston SC with a short bus ride to Parris Island. I walked the same streets and I heard the same noises and I felt the same feelings. I had killed my last man 3 days earlier. I detonated him from close range. His face lay in the street where he fell. The face remained completely intact. We called it the mask. Some joke. I cried.

Anyway, I had returned to "the world" and I really didn't feel ready to rejoin. I wanted a few minutes to process things before I took the redeye back to Rhode Island. As I walked the streets I could hear the carolers wth their songs of Peace on Earth & Good Will Towards Men and I started to cry again.

At that moment I wanted two things. I wanted to tell my brother "Merry Christmas...THANK YOU for what you did." and I wanted to feel Momma's arms around me...protecting me and keeping me safe so that I could know that I wasn't just a spectator.

I took the redeye back to Rhode Island.


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This article has been read 335 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Racheal Chand11/14/08
Wow. This was graphic but in a good sense. It was hard to read because it is so very true. Good job at opening our eyes to the suffering soldiers of present at past times.
Shayla Cody11/17/08
What a eerie parallel between a soldier's experience in Vietnam years ago and in the Middle East today. My dad was in Vietnam and my brother is now in Afghanistan... It IS hard to read because it IS so true and near to home. A great piece of work on your part.
Lynn Stevens11/17/08
This is my favorite kind of writing--short sweet and the heart. Good work