David Charles Lessard

A WAR’S MID-SUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM

In stealth it comes, at night, there, in the pause after a day’s long, hard battle. It’s truly a dreadful silence, and surrounds ones whole within a muted eerie abyss, that even the most hardened warrior can’t help but succumb. In motionless stare, watching the moonrise come slowly dancing in, I lay on my bunk drenched in cold sweat, within that quiets torturous calm. Weary eyes shut to meet my near defeated spirit, as it aches in unison, with a body, so weak, so sore, and so beaten.

A mind wanders there in the flow of redundant, remnant thought, where again it fails drowning in nothings resolve, to ease any of the deep sadness of the many lost in the heap of yet another bittersweet victory. Sorrow commingles there, hidden there by hardened masks worn upon stoic faces by those whose success now supports that behind them, as it too becomes covered by the night’s silence as well. Side-by-side, we all lay, haunted in permanent memory of the crosses, stars, and crescents we bare, and by those we can only hope will find a dispatch of forgiveness when tomorrow comes, and we leave them in that quiet, and go on with-out them.

Prayers come rarely spoken, but remain eternally captured by the vulnerable the hearts of those who plead for proper guidance, and for conformation that what they do is right, and in their fight, it always will it be. But, within them, doubts still prevail there in the back-mind of morale, and as it comes, it tries to consume me, here in this quiet. Is it’s truly wrong for us being here, and this isn’t our fight? Day after day, it’s heard, they’re in the news, and they’re in protest, and it seems, just as the sun, they rise daily to bring sanction upon all we are.

If our mission isn’t supported then is what we do day after day: that of the unjust? Oh God, in this dead silence that surrounds me, I only have reassurance within my own whispers, and my soul lays open. Oh Lord! I can’t cry out aloud for those now gone, oh, my friends – heroes to America, that can’t come to lay with-in any empty place of shame! Unaware of any time, as it goes bye me – had it been minutes, or it was hours? I’m so lost, and couldn’t truly go on knowing what I do here was unjust. My breath, seemingly impossible to catch in any volume, joins in a relentless sweat, and as I weep and I writhe with-in my thoughts, knowing that still, again, I will going out there again tomorrow.

Quiet this darkness: can you hear me God? Oh, please, if what I do here is a crime, or unjust, or wrong in your eyes, make this a night everlasting, and one without an end and to be forever in a peace of never having to live tomorrow in my shame of today. Still this Night in endless time, to protect my company, and to never again have to kill another in the doubt of others, nor live after the carnage from any murderous act! Please, help me, someone help me, oh God, are they right? I’m so confused, how does one continue to fight?

Tightly held to my breast, I feel the cool barrel against my cheek, as I hold my rifle with-in rough, cut, and raw hands. I haven’t been able to release my weapon for days, as right or wrong, I know it’s the only thing that has kept me safe, and alive. My body succumbs to exhaustion, and as sleep comes to me; the night moved on, and within my mind’s torments, I find the dreams of a warrior begin to move in.

As I slept, those dreams brought me to room, alone, and unable to move, dreams that were somehow very different this night. Like one being a ghost, I was taken home, and I saw my Mother and My Father with friends, and they and others – how proud they were of me and of what I do. Suddenly, they turned to me, just as if I were really there, and I saw their loving smiles, and I saw the support in their eyes, and I heard them say, “We love you Son.” They then both just faded away, as if one were turning the page to a book, and there upon a new page I was brought to my little brother playing his favorite games safely in our yard, and with all his friends; and there on every porch were my neighbors standing on the lane where I grew up, and I began to feel overwhelmed, as I saw yellow ribbons and banners, and the Stars and Stripes flying high upon every house I past.

The night seemed to go on and on, and on, as I thought there in my dreams, was I being granted my wish as again like a page being turned, it all just fades away and again became dark all around me. I am no less confused as my dream continues on to yet another page, where I was now gone from those beautiful familiar streets, and from my family. Oh, in blinding light, I shield my eyes, from a pain like no other ever felt, and then, as that light began to be tolerable, it became filled with such terrible visions. They flashed and flashed by me faster and faster, and faster, until they became indecipherable from the other, but still filled my eyes and mind with that of horror!

In those dreams of horror, I heard and saw explosions, and fires, and people dead. No, I can’t be awake, I can’t be back in the war: I pleaded with you GOD! But, no, it wasn’t the war. I wasn’t seeing tanks, no soldiers, and the planes I saw were not war jets, but airliners. The explosions I saw were not from mines, but with-in tall buildings and those people dying were not shot, nor shelled, but they’re falling and falling, and falling to their death. Oh God NO! I was there, inside the Towers, as I watched n horror and felt the innocence of an unjust fear, they began to collapse all around, and I heard the screams of all those going down with me.

Please stop, just make it stop I shouted as I was then taken to the next Tower, and then to the Pentagon and stood in shock fire consumed me, and then I was taken to a field in Pennsylvania where I was forced to stand in shame while I watched it go down, and not be part of those that understood their actions, and where I was reminded what just, and right, and purpose means, and shown what means to be a true Hero.

There, in the now quiet field, and unable to move, I was placed just as my wish had asked for. I was there frozen in time and never to again be placed in a light of shame because of what I do. I soon saw a line of people form before me, one that seemed to be miles and miles long. As I stood there, and they began to come into view, and my God, it was each of those to who had lost their lives that terrible day, and behind them were those lost when our embassies fell in Africa, and then those of the USS Cole, and then all those to whom have given their life in this war! How could I face them all, there in one’s true shame, one far, far greater than any of one’s self doubts!

Closer, and closer the precession line came, and as they began to walk on by me in silence, I cried out to God, “I am so sorry, how could I have lost sight of so many, and fell to my knees in shame. I brought my hands to my face and wept aloud, Lord, please tell them I’m sorry, as I struggled to wake-up, but to no avail, as I couldn’t wake up, as everyone was now surrounding me, I thrashed and I thrashed trying to wake up, and I begged God to make them stop, to make it stop! Please, I’m sorry for giving up, I’m sorry I let you all down, Please forgive me!!

I then heard a voice, one of a near soft whisper, and it was calling my name. Pulling my head up from tear soaked hands, I began wiping away my flood of tears, where one of the lost had stopped before me, and I waited the fate of one’s self imposed humiliation. Feeling completely unworthy to be there, I say in a whimpering voice, “Please forgive my actions, I am so sorry.” But, to my amazement, I watched on, each and everyone, from the very first to the very last, bring up a salute unto me, and I heard each tell me thank you, and I was able to feel each as their love in appreciation was given for everything I had done this battle for freedom’s right. Never will any purpose ever become clearer.

Suddenly I was there, back in my bunk, with the sun shining in upon my face, and still feeling the experience of that Longest Night’s humbling purpose, I arose with confidence and pride, and bringing to all that meet this day forward the guidance and spirit from all those living or not, to whom forge the right’s of freedom, and to whom mark forever, with-in us all, the purpose and need for it’s defense. I will never again forget that part of what I am, nor those I remembered by my side, nor the path we move onward and forward on to bring to all humanity’s rights… I shall not fail those to whom I love, or those that come to us, there within the reminders of some long nights passing.