combat writing badge C O M B A T
the Literary Expression of Battlefield Touchstones
ISSN 1542-1546 Volume 03 Number 03 Summer ©Jul 2005

Those Who Suffered

          It was an unusually chilly New England night, as cold as if death itself was grasping into one's soul, and all you could use to fight it off was your desire to stay alive. Somewhere on this night, a rickety old door was opened by the most loyal of guards ... opened for a behemoth of a man ... not only in stature, but of character as well.

          Inside this small annex of a cabin, a small fire was burning. Providing the small form of comfort we all have taken for granted through the years. The cabin itself was filled with only the most basic things that a man would have needed to survive. Consequently, the fireplace was being, at most, the key of those things.

          The large man, it is imagined, would have pulled his thick winter gloves off before this fire, like any other of us, to let those hands feel what his whole body starved for: a place not plagued by the deathly chill. However, that same chill would never leave his soul, for he was here to write an important letter. One on behalf of the men, nay, his brothers, who were held mercilessly on the notorious prison boats that were relatively close by our standards, but painfully unattainable by his.

          With quill and parchment, this man wrote in a language we would be able to read, but in which many would struggle to comprehend. An elegant type of English that somehow has been lost to us through the ages. Written in a time when words were weapons, just as good as the cutlass and gun he placed near the door when entering.

          With much emotion, those words flowed true, like the mighty waters of the Mississippi. Ringing with a truth louder than a cracked bell that would come from Philadelphia. Words as deep as a canyon in Arizona that laid in wait, still undiscovered. With a wisdom that crashed down, just like a mighty waterfall in Niagara. Words that touched one's soul, like the beautiful islands of Hawaii, destined to be the last of the many. Proud words, resembling that proud woman, destined to stand in the waters of New York. Just as important, but less well known than those words that began it all; WE THE PEOPLE OF THE United States of America ....

          The letter, almost finished, was to be sent to the British General in New York, demanding better treatment of those who suffered daily on the horrid prison ships of New York. Signing this document, the large man would have called the messenger to ride forth with this tidbit of forgotten history. It would be imagined this giant of a man, who held the courage of a giant, would have felt great sympathy for those brothers of his suffering, not only in prisons on this land, but elsewhere in the world.

          That was until the guard, knocking at the door, said, "It is time to go General Washington."

by Ryan A. Forbus
... who is a former United States Marine, now working toward a career in writing; his compositions have previously appeared in this magazine.

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C O M B A T, the Literary Expression of Battlefield Touchstones