With graying hair and a limp in his walk, the old man made his way through the stones that stood in a line in the great field. Many of his friends are here, and for once he feels good about himself once again. The sky is grey today, the wind brisk and cold.
Gone are the regrets and the shame that came from years of drinking, replaced by the pride that comes from spending time with honorable people. His weary face, skin cracked from years of tears and pain manages a smile, something that has been scarce these days.
To each stone he passes, he kneels and gives his respect, before moving to the next one. Reaching one particular stone, he falls to his knees and cries out loud. The emptiness of the land gives echo to his sadness as he bares his soul with loud howls of sadness.
Memories of his days in the great war fill his mind. He thinks of Little Bill, Coonskin Pete, and the rest of his platoon, and how they depended on his quick thinking to overcome the horrors of war. Those were the good old days, a time in which his soul was free from guilt and despair. They are all here, them and more. Someday soon he will join his fallen comrades, but not today. He has things that he must do first.
The green of the grass makes a fantastic backdrop to the grey stones, each a testament of the bravery of those who lay beneath. The old soldier pays tribute to his fallen comrades, and to those who fell afterwards in the protection of the land that we hold so dear. He carefully takes out an old flag from a bag he carries proudly on his shoulder, unfolds it, and lays it upon the headstone, the one that bears the same surname that he signs his checks with.
He remembers a time when his son was but a child, and how this young man always wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps, and be a hero. What his child didn’t realize was the pain and commitment that comes with this honor, what you gain, and what you lose in the pursuit of heroism. He thinks back to the day his son enlisted, and how proud he was of him. He thinks of the day that his son was shipped off to a far away land and how he fought and gave his life for his country, and how his son became a hero; an inspiration for all.
The old man’s mind soars back to the day that his son’s body was sent home. This was the day in which his own life ended as well. He remembers the first drink he took, the one that would help him forget, the one that would help end the pain.
Taking a bugle from his backpack, he plays ‘Taps’ for all who grace his presence. He knows that his audience has long since passed, but he feels that someone must remember.