“I served 23 years in the Army. I fought in the Gulf War, the Iraq war and in Afghanistan. I didn’t realize how greatly it affected me until I retired and went on a battlefield tour of Europe.
Being a military history enthusiast I had saved money for years to visit battlefields from Russia to France. While I was visiting the memorial at the Somme, something hit me. I don’t know what it was, but it was like…realizing…and I mean really realizing the amount of blood that was spilled there.
I looked across the fields where the British advanced and I just fell to my knees and wept. I saw the faces of so many soldiers in my head. The anonymous faces of British soldiers. German soldiers. French soldiers…and then my soldiers.
I couldn’t control myself. I was on my hands and knees crying like a small child. My wife was with me, and she hadn’t seen me cry in almost 15 years. She was concerned and knelt beside me. ‘What’s wrong, babe? Are you okay?’
‘I’m crying for them.’ I said. ‘For who?’ My wife asked.
‘All of them.’…I could tell she couldn’t understand, but it was clear as day to me.
I cried for every man who has ever held a sword, spear, musket or a rifle. I cried for the men who’s lives were taken. For the ones who’s souls were shaken by the savagery and barbarism of war. For the men who would forever be empty shells.
I cried for them because visiting that place was the final realization of what war takes from all of us. It was the most vulnerable and therapeutic moment of my life and I shall never forget it. God bless all those men. Of all wars.”
– Anonymous US Army. Colonel. 1991-2014
This story was documented by Battles and Beers (TM) Every soldier has a story, and every story deserves to be told.