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Patriotic Story

Steven J. Newton

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Dear John

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  • This Fiction account is part of my “Old Sergeant” Series and is meant to express a patriotic point or insight . . . So, imagine yourself as an embedded reporter where the Old Sarge uses his innate humanity to solve a very complex problem...

Mail call was always a great day for the platoon. Even though the mail came intermittently it was usually a day of sharing home made cookies and other treats. They passed around new CD's and music was playing everywhere. “Kids,” the old sergeant thought. What ever happened to Old Blue Eyes and Dean Martin? But even though he never received any mail himself he enjoyed watching his men.

He noticed that one of the men was sitting over in a corner all by himself and he did not look happy. Uh oh, the old sergeant thought. A face like that usually meant trouble at home and trouble at home could lead to body bags here. He ambled over to the kid and sat down beside him. “How's things at home soldier?” The kid bent his head down so the sergeant couldn't see his eyes and just handed the letter over for him to read.

As the sergeant read through the letter he found very quickly that it was a “Dear John.” The kid's girlfriend had found someone that was not serving their country but who at least was home. The bad part about it was she didn't put it very gently. She racked the poor kid over the coals pretty good.

“Aw, sh**,” the sergeant, thought. This is trouble. “Soldier, you know there isn't much a man can say at a time like this. The only thing I can tell you is that you'll get over it. I know I did.” “You did sergeant,” the soldier said? “You mean you got a dear john yourself?”

“Yep, I did. And I got over it but it took some time. In fact I still carry the letter with me to remind me how lucky I was not to get involved with a girl that wouldn't even wait for me.” The old sergeant reached inside his shirt and brought out an old well-read letter and handed it over to the kid. The soldier looked in amazement at the letter and then back at the Sarge. “Go ahead kid. It's ancient history.”

The soldier opened the letter and started to read. It was three pages long and was the most heart-wrenching thing he had ever read. Tears were streaming down the kids face as he handed back the letter. “Sarge, I didn't know. I'm so sorry. Your letter makes mine look pretty tame.”

“Yeah, well. Things happen. Now get back with your squad and don't let them see your eyes are red.” “Yes sergeant,” the kid said as he hurried off. The old sergeant got up and put the letter back into his shirt pocket. He'd had a bar tender write it for him ten years ago and he always kept it. He never knew when he was going to need it again.

Note... I hope this Fiction account has impacted your sense of patriotism in some respect.  And any resemblance to a person living or dead is coincidental and unintentional.

Steven J. Newton
Copyright 2004

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