Perhaps he was a footnote in history, there was no one left to ask, this veteran of a near forgotten war, now brought to life through films and sometimes books, but lived by him back when his legs still 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 a blanket round his limbs and watched the wind play with grass and leaves: no cordite now, no friends crying out their last. 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 those dark acolytes who gave muscle to his plans.
To those around him who waited on his thoughts, the scene was now at peace, with only a cross to excite the memory, but in his mind, were Jack and Stan still bickering over rations: alive once more and waving him to some peaceful shade where they might share a smoke and swap anecdotes.
As his patient relatives stood by his chair he heard his friends, now living in his memory, ask him with 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 pushing though we drive them back ”
“We died in vain,” his friends said in one voice, incredulous that such a chance was missed. “No,” he replied: he spoke with experience. “In time we live to see things differently, and most of us seem metaphors at best; in life we either inspire or depress as generations examine fresh horizons, but through it all lives like yours give our children the courage to seek the higher ground.”