On an isolated hill in a bug-infested jungle, a young soldier waits in ambush to kill the equally young enemy combatant. Less than a year removed from high school he was popular, a football captain, well-liked and respected by his classmates. He was a bright boy with a positive future. He needed only to survive his tour of duty. The night was sticky, like all the other nights. The mission was the same, set the ambush on a trail the enemy was thought to use and wait. Most of the time there was no contact, this night was different. Movement… What was sticky became a stream of sweat, he wiped his eyes and prepared for the life or death encounter. Suddenly the jungle exploded with the fog of war. First, the claymore mines were activated, followed by screams and confusion then the grenades and automatic fire. Red and green tracers ripped the air distinguishing the difference between friendly fire and enemy retribution. Just as suddenly as the fight started, it was over. Or so it seemed! The young soldier took a deep breath and checked himself over, he was thankful, he had escaped the death angel one more time. Now, came the body count.
In this war, the enemy body count was all-important, it determined the outcome of the battle. The lieutenant, only a few years older than the soldier assembled his warriors, only a few minor casualties but no death. The next step was the most dangerous part of the night, the enemy body count. The platoon spread out and began the methodical march through the devastated combat zone. The soldier found himself on the left side of his lieutenant, the platoon’s radioman on the lieutenant’s right. Slowly, step by step, they carefully searched the brush ahead for dead combatants. Without warning, not ten yards ahead a bush came alive with automatic fire spewing green tracers in every direction. The solders gums numbed with fear as all the blood left his face. His training took over, he opened up his own fury, emptying his piggyback magazine into the bush killing the enemy soldier. The lieutenant went to his knees and then to his face, his helmet tumbling. The soldier labored to host the wounded officer onto his shoulders and carried him off the battlefield, down the hill praying he was not mortally injured. The lieutenant died before they reached the bottom of the hill. The young soldier received a medal for his gallant action. He later stated he only did what anyone would do under similar circumstances, he was my brother in arms. This is not the end of an already tragic story.
The soldier, older now, returned home with the battle scars of war. He wasn’t the same innocent young boy that went to a war faraway. He was consumed with drugs and alcohol and riddled with guilt. He wasted a lifetime of great potential and then took his own life some 40 years later. Maybe you know someone overwhelmed by grief and despair. It may not be a veteran, it could be a friend or neighbor or family member burdened by a world full of hopelessness and hate. Will you tell them God loves them and wants to help them? Will you show them? Psalm 103: 2-4) “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;” The young soldier in this story was my brother and I miss him. For more about a life with God read “Beam me up Commander” it's free!