The days grow long as the cool winds now begin to grow frigid across the land. My hands are frozen as they grip to bags carrying books across campus and along the small town roads off campus as I have to walk the distance to get to class. He knows where I am, and yet he can not come. The war keeps him and I know it’s what he wants. A man’s heart is not easy, but it is true. I work in the wards and wipe away dried caked soot from wounds gone dry. It’s not not so much the wounds of the flesh that these men carry, but those inside that no one comes to talk about. And yet I carry on, dapping soft white cloth into the pool of water at the table side next to their sick bed. My soft voice I pray brings some sort of comfort as I try to heal what only a man’s war can bring to men and women such as these. I cringe noticing the half hanging nail still clinging to the underside of his callus toughened fingers. I swallow hard and scorn myself for such an uncontrolled response. These men fight night and day to provide those things which women such as I can have privilege to go home to in peace of mind to cook warm meals and tend to those wounds of the heart which will be left unsewn here today. Medicine can do only so much. The penicillin brings hope as sanitary conditions clean the area well and bring a new sense of cleansed healing at the back of the lines. Bullet shot mounds of grass between lands of hidden men and women lingering behind quiet unspoken places bring a sense of home, heart, hope. My life may not be as rugged or strong. I may not carry a weapon or garnish a brand upon the minds of my opposition so as to elicit dark dreams of unrest that their days grow short as we come. My war is not one of hyper-vigilance in the dark where men hold guns and trudge through grungy, grimy places left only to the imagination of others. But I hold the line of the war I do wage. I stand strong. As strong and as brave as those who move closer to the front before me. Each of us hold our place. Each of us take our stand. Each of us have our say among the enemy. And when the days are gone and the wars of the flesh are won, it is home to me and those like me, to us their hearts then come. We are ready. We are strong. We are here for you. And we care. For their families, for their friends, and always for them. Let us prepare, even as the holidays grow near. Even then, we wage on, making our mark each day. Even then, we are never alone. Fight for me brothers, as I fight for you. When the battle is done and you put down your gun, if you wonder what to do next, I will be here. We, will be here. We know. We know what comes next. Peace. Peace of the heart. In our country. For them. Because of them. We are one.
non sibi sed patriae. “Not for self, but for country”
When you do it, do it right, do it strong, do it as one, and be proud when it’s done.