A Footnote in History

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.


About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
This entry was posted in character, creative writing, faith, Fiction, old age, Relationships, soldiers, Uncategorized, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to A Footnote in History

  1. Jane Thorne says:

    Nothing is ever wasted, and this dear Ducky, is a beautifully written piece my friend. x


  2. catterel says:

    This brought tears to my eyes. That last sentence is a poem – just put line breaks where you need to breathe – beautiful.


  3. Dylan Hearn says:

    A really wonderful piece. Thank you.


  4. lexborgia says:

    I love the way you capture emotions, and I agree 100% with Catterel; that last line is a poem.


  5. Rhythmic prose in thought and word..


  6. Al says:

    Brings to mind the last scene of “Saving Private Ryan.” Asking our departed mates, but ourselves really, did we make a difference after all?


  7. A very powerful piece. And thanks for stopping by my blog. Come back on Friday for a free flash fiction story.


  8. backonmyown says:

    Hi Ducks. This beautifully written piece is timely for me. I just finished reading a book called “Home” by Toni Morrison. It’s about an African-American man from a little town called Lotus, Georgia. He fought in the forgotten war called the Korean Conflict. His self-examination is painful and beautiful–like a lotus. Morrison is a master of metaphor. So are you.

    I’ve been a lazy blogger this summer. I’m trying to catch up. Hope you’re well.


  9. babs50nfab says:

    THIS! So touching, Peter. I had to share on fb. Timely.


  10. This was really engaging, and I especially love the second paragraph – where you manage to tell us what we need to know for the piece to work, but without sounding expositional, as the language is so captivating.


  11. This is so moving Peter. I hope we, as children, and the children to come do indeed keep seeking the truth and defend it with humanity. Itis too easy to forget in our “busyness”. “One man’s evil brilliance” is a great phrase.



  12. araneus1 says:

    nicely done, feathered one.
    sad but true


  13. Caroline says:

    I too am about to share this on FB. You brought tears to my eyes. A beautiful piece.


  14. Jane says:

    This was a wonderful piece and so moving. I would like to reblog this as there are some of my readers this will be especially powerful. Beside, more need to be introduced to you.


  15. Jane says:

    Reblogged this on There is no bang! and commented:
    This is a powerful and wonderful piece that touched me. This writer is very talented and I wanted to share his gift.


  16. Purely.. Kay says:

    I was truly mesmerized reading this my friend. It really captured me. It really moved me. Let me just say.. thank you for your writings. You have a true talent and its my honor to read your blog.


  17. Theresa says:

    This is absolutely beautiful – full of emotion, thoughtfulness, regret, shadowed memories, echoes of the past…but most of all – who will remember? Did I make a difference? Is the world any better because of me? The final scene from Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan” personifies the feelings you’ve put forth here.


  18. nelle says:

    So many lessons missed, if only. We inspire or depress… I like that.

    This reminds me of a song…


  19. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    This is very very touching. I like the way you unfolded it. Beautiful post.


  20. “lessons learned are gradually forgotten” – this line hit home with me.. I say something similar often… It is sad.. so many events touch us / change us… but as time passes the message fades…


  21. Jen says:

    This starts off so sad, and doesn’t get any less sadder. But you do such a good job of setting the tone from the very beginning and maintaining it throughout.


  22. You really are getting quite a fan base, Peter, and justly so. You offer up such thoughtful, soulful essays and you’ve learned how to accentuate your comments with the ever-popular smiley face. Congratulations, my friend! 🙂


  23. Ampbreia says:

    Well written. Nicely reconconciled lives and deaths. I like it.


  24. Raw and inspiring. ‘seek the truth and defend it with humanity’ Beautiful!


  25. Profound writing there.


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