Perhaps he was a footnote in history, there was no one left to ask, this veteran of a near forgotten war, now bought to life only in films and sometimes books, but lived by him back when his legs stilled moved, and crawled without complaint through this same undergrowth.
Nearing his centenary, and the last of the old pals, he sat upon his chair with blanket round his limbs and watched the wind play with the grass and leaves. No cordite now, no friends crying out their last as bodies ceased to breath. His eyes, which seemed unfocused to his relatives, looked out for faces loved so long ago and torn from life by one man’s evil brilliance and dark acolytes who gave muscle to his plans.
To those around him the veteran, who waited on his thoughts, the scene was now at peace, with only a cross to excite the memory, but in his mind, where Jack and Stan still bickered over rations , their lives breathed once more, and waved him to some peaceful shade where they might share a smoke and swap their stories.
As his patient relatives stood by his chair he heard his friends, now living in his memory, ask him with a curiosity “Is it better Arnie, tell us that. Did we shove the bad guys off the map”. He shook his head and smiled, “No, we didn’t: there’s more than you can count, and not all of them come from foreign lands. They keep on coming and we drive them back ”
“We died in vain,” his friends said in one voice, incredulous that such a chance was lost. “No,” he replied, he spoke with certainty. “In time we live to see things differently, and most of us seem metaphors at best; in life we either inspire or depress. Most lessons learned are gradually forgotten, as generations examine new horizons, but lives like yours help give our children the courage to see beyond the commonplace, seek the truth and defend it with humanity.