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Patriotic Story

Steven J. Newton

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This Fiction account is part of my “Old Sergeant” Series and is meant to express a patriotic point or insight.

The old sergeant received a summons to the CO's office a task he always dreaded. It seemed to him that trouble always followed a visit to the boss. As he was shown into the CO's office he was surprised that the “at ease” order was not given. He was left standing at attention while the CO continued to read a report. Finally finishing he looked up at the sergeant and said, “Well, after reading the last after action report, it appears that I agree with the recommendation of your platoon leader.” “Sir?” The old sergeant said. “You have been recommended for a Silver Star sergeant and I have just approved it.” It will be presented officially to you tomorrow. Congratulations and you are dismissed.”

The sergeant left the office and slowly walked back to his platoon area going straight to his own make shift office. He sat in an old wooden chair behind several boxes and pulled out a bottle of Jack Daniels and took a long slow pull. His mind returned to the battle just a few days before. His platoon had been pinned down when one of his best men had run out firing his rifle distracting the enemy long enough for the platoon to withdraw to a more defensively viable position. The soldier had taken a rifle round in the leg and was severely injured. All the old sergeant had done was to go out and pick him up. No big deal and the sergeant would never dream of leaving a wounded man behind. In fact he had never left anyone behind, alive or dead. Now they wanted to give him another medal.

The wounded soldier had lost his leg and been airlifted to Germany. The old sergeant knew he would be going home now to a life of VA hospitals, rehab and prosthetics. He took another long pull on the bottle as he picked up the phone in his office.

The next day his whole platoon was gathered for a short ceremony where various medals and citations were handed out. The Divisional General himself had come to present the awards and when he came to pin on the Silver Star the old sergeant broke with protocol and leaned over to whisper in the Generals ear. “Granted,” the General said and moved on to the next man.

The next morning the sergeant returned to his CO's office and requested an immediate two-day leave. “Well, I guess you have earned it sergeant and you have never requested leave since I have been here. Your request is granted.” Less than an hour later the sergeant was packed and in a truck heading for Baghdad airport.

Two days later the sergeant was back leading his platoon. His men had been surprised by his sudden disappearance and wanted to know where he had taken off to in such a hurry. “What are you guys, my mother? Mind your manners and keep your eyes open or I'll shoot you myself.”

That very morning in a hospital in Germany, a young soldier had awakened from a painful and troubled sleep. The doctors had said his prognosis was good but that did not make things better. He knew he had at least a year of hard work to be able to walk again. Not only that but he missed his squad and his platoon. Tears started to form in his eyes and he turned his head on his pillow to hide his face. Out of the corner of his eye he saw something on his pillow.

Sitting up, he saw a bright Silver Star pinned to his pillow. He reached over and touched it thinking he was dreaming. Then a smile slowly spread across his face. “Sarge,” He whispered.

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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