Creative Writing: Going To War


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Going to War
The arrival of winter was well on its way. Colorful leaves had turned to brown and fallen from the branches of the trees. The sky opened to a new brightness with the disappearance of the leaves. As John drove down the country road he was much more aware of all his surroundings. He grew up in this small town and knew he would live there forever. He knew every landmark in this area. This place is where he grew up and experienced many adventures. The new journey of his life was exciting, but then he also had a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach of something not right.
Three weeks ago John, twenty four years old, finished his fourth semester of college. He enjoyed college life, fraternity friends and everything that goes along with college. Because of a car accident several years ago, he did not start college on time like most of his friends, but he was working his way through. He had not passed two of his last semester classes, but wasn't worried he would retake them in the summer. Then the dreaded letter arrived in the mail. John was being drafted; he was going to war. Colleges notify the draft board when students fail classes. Immediate red flag!
John would have to travel to an army base for his basic training, and then he would be assigned directly to Pakistan to fight in the war. As upsetting as it would be to leave his home and college life, he knew it was his responsibility to go. If he had only studied a little harder, or gone to a professor for extra help, he would probably be returning to school. But these were the consequences he would have to face, and he would face them like a man.
A big "celebration" dinner was planned for John's going away. All of his family and close friends came to enjoy good food and fellowship before leaving in the morning. His parents were to drive him to the airport where he would fly to the army base. The same base his father trained at many years ago. John's father was proud of his son, but also a little concerned, for he realized the seriousness of this war.
After all of the guests wished John well and left for their journey home, John went for that last ride through his homeland.

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There was one person he must meet with before his departure.
He drove up to the small red brick house. The outside lamp was burning, and he could see the television playing through the front window. His friend since he was ten was sitting in the recliner, waiting for John's arrival. John was nervous as he knocked on the door. This visit would be different than all of the others throughout the years.
His friend of many years came to the door. The friendly smile was always a welcomed sight to John. Today his friend appeared a little grayer around his face and more concerned than usual. John entered the living room and sat down on the green and blue plaid couch to visit. John's friend was the family priest, who always had extra time to spend with anyone at any time. He was a remarkable person, who always had the best advice.
John wanted to see his priest before going so far away. He needed to clear his mind and shoulders of a few troublesome things that were bothering him. A good confession always made John feel better, even though it was not his favorite thing to do. After a long soul searching visit, John was on his way home for a good nights rest in his bed.
Early morning came quickly. The morning was crisp and cold. Frost was covering the entire outdoors like a heavy white wool blanket. John's bags were packed and he went downstairs to have breakfast with family one final time. Everything seems to be so final, which worried John. His priest told him these were normal feelings but John seemed to worry about the feelings he had.
The breakfast was especially good this morning. The bacon was perfect and the smell of the over easy eggs filled the room. The biscuits were as light and fluffy as ever, with fresh honey dripping down the sides. Good conversation filled the room, and soon it was time to go.
John gathered his bags and loaded them into the back of his fathers red pickup truck. His mom and dad came along to send him off. The truck ride was quiet on the trip to the airport. It was still early morning and not many people were out on the road yet.
The airplane takes off as John's parents watch from the airport window. Although they were both apprehensive about this journey, they knew John would do his best. He had always been a hard worker and conscientious about his responsibilities. School had always been a struggle for John, but that never stopped his willingness to want to learn.
The airplane landed on time and an armored car was waiting to take John to the army base. After collecting his bags, he was on his way. A new mission about to begin.
The stark barracks, which John was assigned to, loomed like an empty barn. Iron post beds; with thin flat mattresses and a small closet for him to keep his belongings in. He was assigned clothing and boots to wear for his training. Training began immediately. The officer greeted the new recruits, lined the men up and marched them to the barbershop, where all men experience a fresh new haircut. Especially fresh because of the cold air. The weeks passed by quickly with week four ready to begin. Homesickness was not a bad as he envisioned. Although he had experienced some with college he knew he could come home anytime. This was a little different; it really wasn't a free will choice. The meals were not as bad as he anticipated, and the early morning runs were pretty invigorating.
Basic training came to a close; John's family came to the graduation and brought John home for a few weeks, until it was time to leave for Pakistan. The training John received prepared him well for the trip. But John would soon find out Pakistan was not anything like his homeland.
Departure day arrived too quickly. Although John was not ready to leave his home again; he knew he had a commitment to do his best. John's priest came to wish him well before him leaving. This was such a comfort to John, with a quick confession; he was on his way, with hopes of returning in two years.
John's new mission took him deep into Pakistan country, far away from his comfortable home. John met with many of his friends from basic training; friendly faces of which he greatly welcomed in this strange new land. There were many, many new faces of strangers he would soon some to know as a friend.
Many battles were fought, with no American man or woman to yet lose their life. There were many tense times in this foreign land; tension of battles to be fought; lands unknown; and homesickness. Homesickness like John had never experienced before. Comfort came to John in letters from home and the thought of his priests last comforting words the morning before his last departure.
Soldiers woke to screaming sirens and loud shots of gunfire early Sunday morning. The day was so early; the skies were still midnight black. John and his fellow soldiers scrambled to get their guns and fighting gear. They were caught somewhat off guard in the early morning hours. They fought until late afternoon, just before the midnight sky returned. John was fighting thoughts of defeat when the invading troops began retreating. The true meaning of war had come to John and his friends; many men, their own and the enemy had lost their life.
John slept uneasy that evening, remembering over and over again the fright he felt only a few short hours ago. He thought of his family and wondered if he would ever be home again to see them. He was not sure of hell, but felt certain these afternoon events were close to what it may really be like. John began to recall many comforting words from his priest throughout his short life. John quietly made a confession to God about the day's events and the lives he had taken. Even though it was war, he had still taken lives; and this thought bothered John greatly.
Today John realized he was doing his country a great deal of duty as he drifted off for a short sleep, before tomorrow's events began.


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