“Warriors Never Die” by Raymond Roy 100 word fiction

PHOTO PROMPT © Krista Strutz

DING DONG!

2am. The headlights of a dark sedan illuminated the honeysuckle hedge by the front walkway. Looking through the side window, the porch light reflected off the Marine officers silver insignia. Oh God NO!

We laid him to rest at Arlington.

6 months before he deployed, we laid the foundation of a cabin by the water. “This will be our family’s legacy cabin Pops”! “For generations”!

It’s been a year. I eased up to the shore on my paddle board. Whoosh Whoosh, a bald eagle landed on a log right in front of me. Overwhelmed, I began to weep.

Word count -100

Written for Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wiscoff Write a complete story in 100 words or less based on the photo prompt. Click here for additional takes on the prompt.

-Goroyboy

“Biggest Kid on the Block”, guest blogger, USMC combat Veteran. 

I am humbled to to have my first guest writer on my blog. Even more so, I am honored that he is a fellow Marine, willing to share his point of view. A point of view from a vantage point of view, few can say they have experienced. To fully appreciate his perspective, approximately 7% of the US population have served in the Military. Around .08% of that is in the US Marines. One final statistic, The Marine Corps (including the Reserves) make up only 10 percent of the total Dept. of Defense force, experience 23 percent of the combat related deaths. Myself, I am a Aviation “In the rear with the Gear” Marine Veteran with much respect to my Marine Brother. 

As a nation we are in an uproar if someone takes a knee or burns a flag. Want to give back to a Vet? Here is your chance, take a few moments and listen. In return he would love to hear your thoughts as well. Semper Fi Brother. -Goroyboy 

It is hard for us to look at ourselves. As people, we don’t always get along with everyone, and it’s generally their fault. Trying to look at our situation from the outside is unnatural – we made these decisions, how could they be wrong? How could I be the source of my interpersonal issues?
The same issues apply to our country. How can we see from the perspective of others? How do we get in the shoes of a Pakistani citizen observing the war in Afghanistan? The North Korean civilian who was born there, and wants to live peacefully? How do we really understand the perspective of those directly involved but not on our side, or indirectly involved and observing? Being a nation with an understanding of others and empathy will not only reduce the world’s issues with us, it will provide our children the role model that they need. Enemies become friends, or at least associates.

This is even more difficult than looking at our people issues described in the first paragraph. In international affairs, we don’t know the other parties involved, and there are many self-proclaimed “experts” who have an agenda, and want to sway the masses. Statistics and “facts” are provided to sway us, causing uninformed or poorly informed decisions to feel well researched and thought out.

We’ve all met people that have nothing to prove to anyone. Walking away from an unnecessary confrontation is easy for them. They don’t need to show you that they’re tough or smart or kind – they’re just going to live how they do, and let others form decisions on their character based upon their actions. I believe our nation should conduct itself in the same way. We should never puff our chest out – we don’t need to. We have a booming economy, limitless food, a powerful military, and countless other programs and advantages. Why are we the guy that has everything going for him, and still has everything to prove? We are the biggest guy at the party, but still can’t back down from a fight if it’s offered. What does a fight do for the people?

The Korean Conflict ended (kind of), and we stayed there with thousands of Army troops. WWII ended, and we left troops in Italy, Spain, Germany, Japan, and many other stations. Again, get in their shoes…how would we feel if other troops were in our land? If Japan had a military base in Norfolk, VA? Or if Germany had a massive base just across the border in Canada, and did combat drills on our border? We have highly deadly warriors in South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia…I don’t know about Australia and Antarctica, but I wouldn’t be surprised. Is this necessary? Do we need the option to conduct quick strikes all around the world? Is this a job that we could leave to NATO troops? Would reducing our worldwide presence reduce us as a worldwide target? I know we think we’re protecting everyone and doing everything we do with nothing but altruistic motives…are we sure?

As a US Marine veteran of multiple deployments to theaters of combat, I can tell you first hand that armed conflict is a bad thing. There is a time for it – when diplomacy has FAILED. If you are always the first to strike, then maybe it’s time to ask yourself if you are the aggressor or the protector. I want our military to be known as a sleeping giant, not a bully. I want to see us develop fair international policies, and apply them to ourselves in the same way we apply them to others. If we are willing to kill people in other nations due to our perception of events taking place in the world, we must see that other nations will view that as acceptable to do unto us. I want our nation’s kids to grow up without fear of an attack for which we blame others, but which others view as a strike to protect themselves. My idea of patriotism differs from most of my friends and colleagues these days. Patriotism is creating the right future for our next generation, not dominating economically and militarily.

Even if you disagree, thank you for taking a few minutes to be in my shoes and hear my perspective. If yours is different, tell me, and I will listen. I will not know going into it that I’m right and you’re wrong. I will listen, and maybe change. I hope we can all do the same. 

Without Self-discipline, Success is Impossible. Period!

To paraphrase MLK jr. “There is no shame in being a street sweeper, embrace who you are and be the best street sweeper in the world”. funny but thinking back, I remember hearing  my Dad giving my sister  similar advice but being  my Dad, it was more like, I don’t care if you are a hooker, just be the best damn hooker out there. He loved to shock at times to make his points. We knew it was his way of showing he was loved us and supported whatever we chose to be, just work hard at it.

I used to accompany my Dad as a little guy into stores watching him pull cons on mostly clueless cashiers with a short change con. I’d watch him read people, he would size them up and sometimes call off whatever had thought about putting into play. He was a survivor. he had 3 young kids, a monkey on his back, a criminal record, this is how he survived. How WE survived. No doubt my dad had a sense of right and wrong as I got the belt when i got caught in 3rd grade stealing some candy and smoking. The message was clear, this was HIS life, he didnt want it to be mine.

Just before he passed away, it was strange but he was very attimant that I was to get baptized. in hind sight it was almost as if he had a checklist. He arranged for me to meet with the Catholic priest  twice a week to study Catholic Doctrine. much of “the rules” didnt make sense to me but to please my Dad, I went through the motions.

After My dad’s funeral I returned home to Washington State, stumbling around as a 16 year old, in kind of a fog, not talking to anyone about my loss since I didnt know how to. Not surpisingly you see families with multiple generations of Cops, Lawyers, brick layers, etc…naturally young men are impressionable but also encouraged by your elders to due better than the previous generation. at this point in my life I found myself with the lofty goal of staying out of jail.

To quote, former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz, “Without Self-discipline, success is Impossible. Period!”

Always the pesky little brother, I followed my older brother to try out for the High School wrestling team. He was naturally strong and quick while I was a prepubecent skinny 4′ 11″ 84lbs small fry. Even at the 101lb weight class, i gave up almost 20 pounds. I loved being around Danny and wrestling gave us bro time together riding home after practice.

Our Coach was former LA Rams NFL lineman named Ross Boice. always light hearted and encouraging, Ross put us through our paces and though not winning allot of team matches, Ross was honest, personable and respected. After each match Ross would methodically go through each weight class and provide honest feedback on what was good and what needed work. Win or lose, I would come away with a sense of worth from this man I respected so much.

Ross had an old baby blue dodge pickup with “three on the tree” gear shift and spots of rust throughout. He would pick me up at 530am before school so I could run stairs or work out on the universal weight machine. at the time I had now idea this was former NFL player, and Washington State football hall of famer. We called him Ross.

I found Ross to be the polar opposite of my Stepdad(later TBKA my Dad). Tony was an intimidating man with dark curly hair over 6 ft and a big Serpico mustache. he wasn’t a man of many words and  didnt say many things twice. at that age I couldv’e easliy descibed him as moody or always grumpy but of course this was coming from a self serving teenager who hadn’t taken the time to see a man who had taken in 3 kids that were not of his own, worked shift work and if he called in sick, it was because he physically could not get out of bed.

As kids we all experienced Tony’s criticism or quick to trigger temper. But I also saw a man who could fix things. I cant remember a time when anybody came to repair anything at our house, cars, appliances, carpentry, Tony was the TexMex McGivor.

Although Polar opposites, each of these men taught me discipline in their own way, perhaps in their own language. Ross with his gentle guidance and encouraging words, and Tony by the actions of his work ethnic infallible ability to learn by doing. At the time I spoke Ross’s language as was my nature at the time. Understanding  Tony’s dialect would take a few more years. regardless, they had removed the chains of the limiting idea that sucess was simply to not go to jail….They gave me enough Self Confidence,  the Self Discipline that I  thought I could become a US Marine…

Next up..Boot camp