It all began in April of 1917. I waited for war. The world had gone mad. All that was left was for +Mr. Wilson to pull the trigger. The debates continued in Congress. But it was all just formality. America had been moving to the edge of the abyss since before the conflict began on European soil. What did anyone expect? Father and his friends needed to feed the war machine, and few if any had the courage or means to stop them. I had heard the discussions for months, facile conversations that mocked the sinking of our ships by U-boats as the deciding factor.
This was my proof: Yesterday, I walked down Park Avenue, measuring my steps like a man who had finally recognized the world for what it was. It was a bleak Saturday, despite the coming of spring, the vanishing chill one expects this time of year. It should have been a season for happy poetry, but the words in verse dripped with dread. Heroes existed for death and nothing more. I stopped at the corner of 34th Street, at the 71st Regiment Armory, where young men were gathering, declaring themselves ready for a war that had not yet been proclaimed. I walked by slowly, trying not to let myself look too anxious. I suppose I was afraid they would grab me. I said good morning to the soldier on duty. Really, I wanted to yell at him: Haven’t you read the reports about the Western Front? Don’t you know what a trench is? Do
you know what all this holds for you? But I did not say a thing. I studied his face, knowing that I had to remember him, remember his blue eyes staring up into the night. Then I imagined him calling for his love a minute before he died; it was as though I had been pushed into a waking dream. Already he was dressed for war; muted brown woolen coat to his knees, a long knife belted to his waist, and a gun on his shoulder, the bayonet flashing in the sun. The day was sullen and warm, and I wondered how he lived inside that uniform.
FROM: ELIJAH RISING by Lyn Lejeune
Elijah Rising http://www.amazon.com/dp/1935725084/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_HtMFob0NPKDDQ via @amazon also on Nook &ebooks and may be ordered from any bookstore, ipad, and most countries
ISBN: 978-1935725084Available from Ingrams, Bella, Smashwords and most distributors.