Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: BROKEN (12/06/18)
TITLE: From the Homefront
By Jennifer Hill
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They marched back to barracks and practiced their cadence. The company was more than halfway through basic. They were in white phase now. Mail was coming in regularly. Some soldiers seemed to get it every day, some trickled in. The mail system was a funny thing at times. Maybe even fickle it seemed.
There were some soldiers who sadly received absolutely nothing. These were the soldiers who must’ve like felt their camo worked better than all the rest. Drill sergeant never had mail for them. They never called their names. Private Hummel hated it.
Drill Sergeant Keitz had the unit standing in formation. Privates Milligan, Hummel and Channing stood at parade rest. Mail was being called. Hummel quietly cracked a joke about “Mailtime,” referencing the Blue’s Clues song. Drill Sergeant Keitz’s eyes darted over to them. He was well aware of the trio’s comradery. He appreciated their bond, knowing it would serve them well. Milligan held in his laughter. Channing stared straight ahead. Hummel quietly hummed out the rest of the tune, in efforts to keep morale up.
Once the mail was delivered, the soldiers were released to their sleeping bays for personal time. Channing was holding a stack of mail from home. He had a big family and a girlfriend, who must’ve sent mail daily.
Milligan though stood empty handed. He looked up at the sky wondering why he hadn’t heard anything? Nothing in six weeks and four days. Not a single person had bothered to write him. Not even once. Weren’t they proud of him? Didn’t they care about him? Even a little? Enough to jot down just a few words? He had called his foster parents from reception to say he had arrived safely. He then had called and informed them of his assigned company.
While other soldiers were teary eyed missing home, Milligan wished he had a real home to miss. Becoming a soldier in the United States Army felt like joining a family to him. Channing and Hummel were the closest thing to brothers he had ever known.
It was like a new beginning for him. He was working on making a new life from all the broken pieces of his own. Maybe he had finally found where he belonged. He was thankful he had joined. Though sometimes he was reminded of how he had no one rallying for him. Milligan looked back down at his army boots and decided he would hit the showers.
Hummel had received one letter from his mama. She wrote him regularly. He took his letter back to his bunk. Before opening it though he had an idea. He still hadn’t had the chance to answer her last letter. He knew exactly what to tell her. He knew exactly what to ask her to send too. His mom was one of the most encouraging souls he knew. She loved to write him. She sent him quotes, song lyrics, Bible verses and even silly jokes. He wanted to share that with his battle buddy. He knew his mama would love doing that for another soldier. Hummel finished his letter and signed it love your GI Joseph.
Then he opened his letter. What he found enclosed with his letter astounded him! God was so GOOD! God was there with him and his friends at Fort Wood! His mama had written not just one note but seven extra notes of encouragement! They were to be given out to soldiers that her son knew needed to hear from the homefront.
Hummel knew exactly who the first one was for. He placed it on Milligan’s bunk and smiled. He then placed the other ones accordingly.
“Lights out at 2100” came over the intercom.
Milligan came up to Hummel.
“Hummel, your mama.” Milligan started to speak, his voice cracked. He put his hand to his heart. “Her note, it’s the good stuff. Tell her thank you. No better yet, I’ll tell her myself. Will you mail it out with yours?”
“Sure man,” Hummel smiled, “Join me for chapel tomorrow 1100?”
“Yeah, I’ll see you there.” Milligan smiled.
Hummel smiled back and replied, “No. We’ll walk together. You’re my battle buddy, brother.”
*True story based*
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