This is a short story that I wrote back in 2006 in honor of the men and women of the U.S. Armed forces. (This was before I joined the Army in early 2007.) The purpose behind the story is simply to remind people that, even if you do not agree with the war, you should still support the troops. In light of the economy and our present war situation, I have noticed that many Americans have a certain resentment toward the military and the continuation of the war on terrorism. My mission here is not to point fingers or step on any toes; I wish simply to make what I feel to be a valid point. I would like to see America return to its patriotic roots. God bless America! Enjoy my short story.
For All of America
“Japan should have known better. I tell you what, it was bound to happen!” The retired U.S. Army General reached over and flipped off the radio, extracting a mouth full of smoke and tobacco from the cigarette hanging from his mouth, blowing the smoke into the face of his American friend, the cook at The Crawford Diner, who in turn closed his eyes and faced the opposite direction.
“But think of all those innocent women and children, bill,” the cook said, turning back to the General when the smoke had drifted away. “They didn’t even know it was coming.”
The General covered his face and heaved a sigh. “Jon, Jon, Jon. How many times do we have to go over this? Think about Pearl Harbor. The way they flew in, completely by surprise, and bombed the smithereens out of us? Our women and children didn’t have a chance.”
Jon was growing tired of arguing. He believed that war was not the solution. If you look hard enough, he thought, you would find a far better solution: peace.
He looked the General in the eye. He knew his words would mean nothing. But something inside brought him to speak again. “An atomic bomb brings nothing but further conflict. Maybe not now, or a hundred years from now. But someday it will come, and somebody will not be prepared. At that point, what will be so wrong in shooting someone in the back?”
General Bill stared for a moment. Taking the cigarette out of his mouth, he said, “Our boys are over there right this moment, fighting their hearts away. They knew before they ever went over there that it would not be easy, would not be fun and games. They knew that there was a very large chance that most of them would not return. These are men and women that willingly put their lives on the line. And for what?”
Jon looked down.
“For us, Jon. For me and you. For all of America. They are willing to die for our freedom. It doesn’t matter if we agree or disagree with the destruction of Hiroshima. That isn’t the point. The point is that we as Americans should support our boys, just as they are supporting us this second. How would you feel if you were over in Japan fighting for a nation that you later discovered was opposing your every move?”
The cook said nothing, which was how these conversations usually ended. The diner remained empty, and the old General continued puffing on his cigarette.