Saturday, November 10, 2012

Veteran Dreams

I used to teach middle school where adolescent boys studied ancient kings and warring nations, and longed to be soldiers and warriors themselves. 

Now I teach in a college where young marines sit in plastic chairs and let me tell them how to write. They bear the scars of battles far less glamorous than those portrayed in their middle-grade history books.

These men have grown up more than they wanted. They’ve fought to right the wrongs of others and, like their fathers, prevent the encroachment of tyrants who would rule the world at any cost.

I’m proud of these boys-turned-men who sit and listen to me drill the rules of punctuation. They are gentlemen, every one, hiding behind their attentive eyes what they’ve seen in places I’ve only heard of.

Sometimes their stories leak from their fingers and onto the page and give me a glimpse of the horrors they dream, reminding me that Veterans are not only the men and women of my parents’ generation or my own.

They are my children, and will someday be my grandchildren, fighting to protect those who cannot defend themselves.

God bless them every one.

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