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Is America Worth One Good Man's Life?

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posted on Nov, 19 2005 @ 05:04 AM
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Gary dove behind a rock, firing his rifle as he did so. Fire had erupted from the Mosque and had caught his unit from behind. Johnson fell just to his left as he rose from behind the rock, calling his men to battle. He screamed, but the words were unintelligible. His men heard him and turned, seeing the new threat. Upon seeing him open fire and start to charge the mosque, they followed suit.

A man opened fire on Gary from his right. A bullet hit his shoulder and sent him to the ground. One of his men killed the man as another grabbed Gary to treat his wound. Gary shoved him off, getting back to his feet.

“Come on, men!” he bellowed as he renewed his charge, killing two attackers while doing so. His men, inspired, redoubled their efforts. Gary threw a grenade at the doorway, blowing it open and charged in. He was followed by 5 others who laid waste to the attackers. None of those attacking from the mosque were still alive.

Gary smiled at his men. They had done a great job. He looked each man in front of him in the eye, and nodded. A surge of pride went through each soldier as they made eye contact. This was a man they would follow into hell itself. He nodded finally to Bill Johnson, his second lieutenant. Then he fell over, dead.

The bullet that had hit him passed through both lungs, yet he had gone on. Gary Smith had died only after he knew his men were secure. Fighting back tears as he filled out the form, Johnson completed the commendation form. Gary Smith was awarded the Congressional Metal of Honor for his actions on May 13, 2004. His actions saved the lives of all of his men, and inspired each one of them in ways they couldn’t comprehend on that hot, dry Thursday.

Two weeks later, Bill Johnson was on leave and took a trip back to the United States. He had a family to meet.

--

Pat raised his sign, trying to scream louder than the rest of the crowd to be heard. The lies had gone on far too long, and the man had to be held accountable. Looking one of the policemen in the eye, he spat on the ground. These actions, lying to lead the country to war, were unacceptable, and Pat was going to do everything in his power to stop it.

Pat’s cell phone rang, and he stopped yelling to look at who the caller was. It was home. He put the cell back in his pocket and continued to protest until the crowd started to break up around 7 PM.

As he walked back to his hotel, Pat checked the message that was left. It was his mother, and he was sobbing as she left him a message to call her back. His heart sank and his stomach seemed to turn inside out. The only thing he could think of was that Aunt Aggie had succumbed to the cervical cancer and died. Trying to fight back the tears from losing her, Pat dialed his mother’s phone number.

It rang 5 times before someone picked up. It was his dad. Pat burst into tears hearing his voice, knowing his parents hadn’t spoken for over 6 years, since the divorce. “Aggie’s dead…” was all Pat could say through the sobs.

“Pat,” his father began, but was then silent. Pat heard a sharp intake of air as his father tried to regain composure. “Pat, Gary’s dead…”

Pat dropped the phone. Gary. His brother…Killed. Killed because of a war started on a lie created by a man who was upset someone tried to kill his father. As the finality of his father’s statement came to him, Pat’s eyes dried, and a determination overcame him. He would take down this lying administration if it was the last thing he ever did. His brother foolishly died for them, but he would avenge his brother’s death. This was the final straw.

--

Bill Johnson got off the plane and took a deep breath. A flashback of Gary’s smile seeing all of his men alive obscured his vision for a moment, but he cleared it as he headed toward the exit. Bill went up the escalator, exited the building and hailed a cab. He pulled out the little piece of paper more to give him something to do; he had memorized the address fifteen minutes into the flight from Iraq.

“Where to, Cap’n?” the cabby asked.

Bill gave the address, staring into the distance, wondering what this was going to be like. He had visions of sobbing, yelling, and anger. He didn’t know what to expect. Gary had told him a lot about his family in the year and a half they had served together, but Bill was still frightened.

“No patrol was ever this hard…” Bill mumbled.

“What’s that, Cap’n?” asked the cab driver.

“Nothin’,” said Bill.

They drove the rest of the way in silence, Bill staring out the window, wondering what he was going to say. The cab came to a stop, and Bill paid the driver. He stepped out of the car as the cab driver handed him his bag.

As the cab drove off, Bill just stood at the sidewalk and stared at the house. It was just as he had imagined it, as though it had come directly out of some fifties magazine. Taking a deep breath, Bill slowly plodded down the walkway to the pink door. Looking to the right, he saw the doorbell.

Bill went to press the bell, but stopped an inch from the button. Taking another deep breath, he pressed it. He shook his head, thinking, “at least with a rifle I feel like I can do something…”

A woman answered the door with a smile. Seeing the uniform Bill was wearing though, the smile disappeared while tears welled up in the woman’s eyes. “B…Bill?” she asked.

Bill, whose eyes were also filled with tears and his throat felt completely closed, just nodded. The woman smiled slightly and invited him in with a gesture. He stepped in and stood at attention. This had seemed like a good idea all the way up until he had arrived. Now, Bill was wondering what the hell he was doing here, and what he could possibly say.

“Ma’am…,” he began, then had to choke back a sob. “Ma’am, I served under your son in Iraq. He was my commanding officer, but more than that, he was one of my closest friends. Gary…” Bill silently broke down, silent sobs shaking his body as he tried to continue to Gayle, Gary’s mother, in the eye. Gayle’s eyes filled with tears, and she put a guiding arm around Bill and led him to the couch. Bill sat down, and tried to regain composure.

“Your son was the bravest soldier I have ever served with. He had a passion for his men and for his country I have never seen in another human being. When Gary….When your son died, he died saving his men. He is the only reason I am alive today to speak with you.” Gayle put her hands to her mouth as sobs wracked her body. Still, she remained silent, looking at Bill, waiting for more.

“What…” Gayle began. There was a long pause as Gayle questioned herself, asking if she really wanted the answers. “What happened?”

Bill looked at her and wanted to run. He didn’t want to relive those moments, but he knew he had to. He took a deep breath. “We were pinned down. An enemy force was entrenched, but we managed to take them out. Just as we stood up, fire came from a mosque. Everyone dove for cover except Gary. He led a charge into the mosque. Even before the charge began, he was shot. It should have been fatal…But Gary had to see his men through.

“We took the mosque. Gary stood there looking over his men before he fell. He looked at me last. He had seen all of his men alive, and all the terrorists dead. He…” Bill broke down. Gayle, who had somehow managed to stay composed through the recounting, broke down as well. She sat next to Bill and held him as they both cried. Bill said through sobs, “He made sure every one of his men were alive before he would allow himself to die.

“You…” Bill broke down again. “You…Raised an incredible man.”

Gayle couldn’t take it anymore and burst out sobbing.

A sniffling sound came from behind the two. Bill turned around to see a man in his fifties silently crying, but staying back in the hallway. As his face wrinkled with a fresh sob having been observed, he nodded approvingly at Bill. Taking a moment, he walked over to the couch and set his had on Bill’s shoulder.

“Thank you,” was all he could say. Bill just nodded in return, and clasped the man’s hand on his shoulder.

The door burst open and a 25 year old man in jeans and a dirty shirt came in. He saw Bill with his parents. Pat snarled, pointed at Bill and yelled, “You!”




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