War isn’t all that it’s cut out to be. The glory, the full-hearted camaraderie, the honor of serving for your country, it’s not all like that. Those faces you see in basic, that you’ve grown close to, you may never see them again, I never did. The honorable actions you are doing for your country, don’t feel so honorable when it’s you pulling the trigger. It was nauseating for me. Finally, everything that was glorified such as taking over other countries is a lot less pristine from an insider’s view. I might have had one of the worst views of it all, but definitely not the worst experience, not by far. I had originally joined my country’s army as a way to make my mother proud and little sister safe. At eighteen I was becoming a soldier. Boot Camp is as expected, a lot of yelling, a lot of exercise, and a lot of discipline. I did gain some good friends during my time there, it’s too bad we were deployed into different divisions when put into the field. I could have really used their support when I saw what was occurring right under all our noses.
Instead of being in the trenches like I had expected to be for the rest of the war, I was shipped off to different, more horrid, place after only a week in the trenches. I was sent to what is known as a concentration camp as a prison guard to keep people in line, but not all were P.O.W.s (Prisoners of War). Some men, many women, and depressingly enough, children, were in this terrible labor camp that I would have to kill if they were to attempt escape or rebellion. I honestly didn’t think they could even dream of doing such actions themselves based upon their visible health. Just from my post I was able to see that many of the residents I was to guard were smaller around than my thigh, some were worse off, looking as if they are walking skeletons-they would be killed soon in the “showers”, some looking better, those were the ones delivered just off the train looking more in pain by the lack of food they are not used to.
I couldn’t stand what I saw every day, the silent crying and death of one’s spirit every day, the screams of the living’s last breath late into the nights. I was trapped here though, I resist, I die. I protest, I die. I desert, I die. None of these situations were very ideal. However, the guilt of seeing these people treated as cattle, or even worse, knowing they’re innocent and undeserving causes much insomnia on my part and many nightmare when I actually do sleep. Many of them of my mother and sister. I don’t know what I would ever do if I were to find them here.
That’s the thought that actually broke me and my fear felt as if it were reality. During one of my shifts a young little girl had disobeyed. She cried, large crocodile tears streaming down her face in large, terrible streams. Her mother, or some relative or another, held back by laughing guards while screaming. Next I know, the stock of a guard’s gun to her head and she’s down, bleeding out. Then the horrible sound that would haunt me just as much as the screams. A ringing of a gunshot echoing throughout my ears left me frozen as a small form crumbled to the ground, kicking up dust as it settled. All I could see at that moment was my mother and little sister suffering the same fate.
I didn’t sign up for this. I wanted to protect people like my mother and sister, the innocent civilians, from horrible and disgusting things such as this, instead, I was sent to condone it. That, is what broke me. I felt I could no longer continue to be in this place, I needed to leave. Whether it be a transfer if I desert, I was gonna get out of here. It didn’t matter anymore.
That night, as I left my bunk in the barracks with everything I may need in my military issued rucksack to finally leave a week after the incident. As I left I had to avoid my fellow soldiers so that I would have an actual chance of seeing my family again. Once I finally escaped the compound I was able to get to the chain-link fence with barbed wire on the top. Here came the harder part. As I pulled out my blanket to throw over the barbed wire, I heard a squeak. To my left stood a small, bald little girl with a look of pure terror upon her face. This was when I saw my sister again. Seeing a small girl around the same age as her standing in front of me, scared of me, made me do something no other soldier I have seen here would, I helped her escape with me. But we were caught.
As we finally neared the forest that would lead us away from this terrible place the alarms and yelling started. I didn’t care about me at this point, I cared about her. After placing my helmet upon her head I pushed her into the foliage, myself being shot in the process.I never did see my sister and mother again, But she got away.
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