Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Writing a Letter (handwritten correspondence) (10/21/10)
TITLE: Comfort And Joy From A Dear Soldier Boy
By Mariane Holbrook
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And clutched it to her thin and aging breast.
“Dear Lord, be with my soldier boy where’ere he is today,
Protect him, Lord, and give him needed rest.”
The blue stars in her window were reminders to the world
That three of her brave sons had gone to war.
“Twas nineteen forty-two and as she touched each service flag,
She prayed the Army wouldn’t ask for more.
The day that Albert said goodbye, she held him close and said,
“Remember, son, that God is on your side.”
She kissed his cheek and prayed with him, then gave him one last look;
Though broken-hearted, she was filled with pride.
It wasn’t long before her other sons were drafted, too.
And each goodbye was harder than before.
In spite of all the rigors and demands the Army made,
They learned the meaning of “Esprit De Corps.”
Their mother woke one morning to a sharp knock on the door.
“I have sad news for you,” a captain said.
“Your oldest son was killed this week while rescuing a friend
Whose injured body had been left for dead.”
Al’s mother in confusion wandered to a local store;
Disoriented, she had lost her way.
They found her all alone inside an unlocked storage room;
Beside some manikins, she knelt to pray.
One day the war was over and her younger sons came home.
Though tired and weary, they were both okay.
Their mother still had times when life seemed far too much for her;
At times, it seemed, her mind would slip away.
But then one day a letter came which wiped away her tears.
The scrawl was indecipherable throughout.
But with the help of others who had language expertise,
She had it figured out, there was no doubt.
“Dear Albert’s Mother, you have likely never heard of me,
But I served in the war with your brave son.
I am a Filipino and I made a lot of friends
But I considered Albert Number One.
“We shared a muddy foxhole; he was sergeant in command
And sometimes we would talk about the Lord.
He told me he had never asked forgiveness for his sins;
His inner life had largely been ignored.
“One night when things were quiet and the troops tried hard to sleep,
Al asked me how to pray the sinner’s prayer.
There in the foxhole Al accepted Jesus as his Lord;
How very much I wish that you’d been there.
“The next day’s battle was the worst that we had ever seen.
The bodies of our men lay all around.
My left leg shattered as the bullets hit me with such force,
I screamed then felt my body touch the ground.
“The moon was bright as Germans walked among our soldiers there
With bayonets to make sure we were dead.
Expecting any moment that I’d feel the bloody sword,
I felt the arms of your son, Al, instead.
“He’d seen me from a distance and began a long, slow crawl
To where my wounded, bleeding body fell.
He dragged me to the safety of our foxhole, crouching low,
When he was hit by an exploding shell.
“He draped his injured body over mine to hide me there.
I felt his labored breathing on my chest.
Soon it was over, Albert died, they carried him away.
A few days later, he was laid to rest.
“Enclosed you’ll find a letter that he never got to mail;
Still in his pocket, ‘twas addressed to you.
I wanted you to have it for the comfort it will bring,
Just thinking of the heartache you’ve been through.
“That Al would risk and lose his very life for one like me
Is something that I cannot comprehend.
No greater love is there than this, (the Bible tells us so,)
Than laying down your life for a dear friend.”
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