This Fiction account is part of my “Old Sergeant” Series and is meant to express a patriotic point or insight.
The old sergeant was on patrol with his squad when he spotted a young man sitting on the curb. Skin and bones with what appeared to be a bullet wound in his left hand. The sergeant stopped, checked his patrol and then sat down beside the young man who eyed him with deep-seated suspicion.
Reaching inside his shirt the sergeant pulled out a chocolate bar and handed it to the young man. While he was wolfing it down the sergeant pulled out his first aid kit and sprinkled anti septic powder on the wound and then bandaged the hand. The young man looked at the sergeant with wonder as he rejoined his patrol.
“Careful Sarge, someone might think you have a heart,” one of his men shouted. “Check your orders stupid. We're supposed to give aid to the locals,” the old sergeant growled. The patrol went well and soon they were back in their compound.
Several days later the sergeant was again on patrol, one of a seemly endless series. His men were all veterans and he noticed with pride that they were scattered out and moved with a calm self-assurance. Very little chatter, they knew each other so well that just a hand sign or even a look from the sergeant was enough to move someone into position.
Time passed and dusk settled over the slums of Baghdad. The hairs on the back of the old sergeant started to rise and he motioned for his men to take cover. Out of a dark alley an indistinct form suddenly charged the old sergeant and before he could even raise his rifle the form hit him full on knocking him off his feet. A that very moment a shot range out and suddenly the air was filled with small arms fire as the sergeant struggled out from under the person who had knocked him to the ground. The figure was not moving so the sergeant immediately added his fire to the mass of outgoing coming from his platoon.
As usually happed the firefight was over as quick as it began although it seemed like a lifetime. The old sergeant called out to his men and got a response from them all. They had been lucky. If the man had not charged out of the alley they would have been caught flat-footed.
Walking back to the alley the sergeant saw a small bundle of rags with a bandaged hand sticking out of a sleeve that was way to large for the young man wearing it. A large bloodstain covered his back. Turning the man over the sergeant was shocked to see that it was the young man who he had shared a chocolate bar with only days ago.
Bending down beside the young man, the old sergeant heard him whisper: “I no let them kill.” The young man had taken a bullet meant for the sergeant. “No son, you didn't let them kill me. You did good.” At this the young man closed his eyes.
Two months later a young man arrived at an orphanage in the deep woods of Southern Missouri. This orphanage was used to receiving children from an unknown source, all with legal government paperwork. They had taken in over 20 kids from all over the world over a period of years. And as usual a rather large check came from an anonymous donor every month.
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