By Ed Rogers
The clouds of smoke drift on the winds of battle; the burnt rubber and fuel assault your senses like a monster from a childhood nightmare. The rubble of war machines litter the field...no longer the proud, victorious steeds that carried warriors into battle. Now, the coffins of contention lie silent.
From the craters of dead soil, and destroyed vegetation, creep the invisible vapors of cordite, Comp-B, and gunpowder. Like a spoon, your boots mix the effluvium into your overloaded brain. The mind tries to sort the sights and smells; place them in some kind of order and end the pandemonium. However, there is no beginning or end; no reason to vindicate the destruction. The fine, noble words of the leaders are not present...the wind does not carry the encouragement to march off to war and to give all for God and Country. The wind after the encounter carries only the smell of death.
At the foot of an earthen embankment, men with bodies thrown flat against the soil. They dug their fingers deep into the ground and prayed...but, death found them anyway. The sweet, sickening smell of human flesh and blood now add the spice to the soup. No longer human, the parts of soldiers cover the ooze-soaked field. The eyes stare from a bodiless head, there are no marks on the young face to account for his death. The strap under his chin still holds the steel pot atop his head—you wait for him to speak.
Suddenly, awake, the sweat cold on your body, the smells in your nose are as fresh as the day you walked across that field. Your wife, unaware, sleeps peacefully, as do your kids, in their rooms, down the hall. You walk to the shower and wonder if your son, also, will have to live with the smell, as did your father and grandfather.
Today is Memorial Day, and you will march with your father and others who have crossed the field of battle. Each of you will feel the bond, which the mind has not excepted and the mouth can not voice.
Copyright © 2013 by Ed Rogers