The Unspoken Agreement: 1: Before the Storm

23 Nov

There’s always frost biting toward the glint of unchanging lights burning away on the Forest. A soft due travels like ghosts over the parable nature of men who return from war when they don’t confuse there sorrow with dignity. A claim of returning back toward the edge of the unspoken grail between men who don’t refuse there limitations. What remained uncertain for Jack West, a leader in the 504 Battalion on the beaches of Japan’s outer island, is that men weren’t ready for what came. Nobody was ready for World War II. A war that men had to fight in order to keep the free world safe, but the soft bamboo of the Okinawa forest proved far deadlier than he would imagine. But then who really expects to survive a war and then become a new person?

The world’s problems couldn’t be solved in a day, nor after a war was over. What was promised for Americans? If they did there time, honorably, they could fight and define there character, but return home, and make something of themselves. A shared collective. But no leader of any army division ever thinks about that. A frail distraction is moments away to dying, but the boats along the way, made the men more nervous than he ever thought. What remained is impossible is the defeat of turning back home and running away. Jack West didn’t like the idea of turning away. He wasn’t a quitter. Hell, he didn’t even refuse the chance to think about fighting in World War II. But however Jack West saw it, patriotism meant more than just protecting home. It was fighting a fight that his children wouldn’t have to. Unborn that is. What is worse? Thinking you might die and leave your unborn family without a father, or letting a bully like Adolf Hitler think he could topple the entire world?

The ugly truth, as many who admitted it, saw Hitler, if Japan had not attacked, as an ally. Even Times Magazine made Hitler Man of the Year in 1934. It wasn’t strange. Adolf Hitler turned such men into his slaves, and with good reason. There economy was in the tank.

Jack West knew it was important to fight. His men were eager to fight for him. There was an unspoken agreement in the ranks. The boys were young, fervent in there bones what they were doing was right. The United States was and always will be the greatest country ever, but even now, looking back, it felt ideal. There was something always redeeming about fighting with men who wanted to win. I guess that’s a college football elite way of looking at a FUBAR situation.

But again, the 504 Battalion, which I joined when the dirty Japs bombed Pearl Harbor, did. It was the worst moment of Jack’s life. But the ship was where the men were. And they were Men. Men who didn’t sound like they were college educated. There was worry in there demeanor, but they were MEN. All in unison, fighting for what was right. But some MEN always had to speak in cynical terms.

They were rough, but men you could trust in battle. They were men who saw only what was in front of them. Some suspicious men who kept such men in check. A sniper, as every military men have them, friend said in conversation, said, “You know the only thing that split’s a Jap’s hair is a comb and a bullet. And my bullets resist there tofu.” Remembering there names are important. As in any story, as there are skeptics, but even my mind is far challenged, and disturbed.

But like all men in war, Jack West wasn’t prepared. The confirmation of his fears were heard with the isolation he kept holding his tongue. Prayer helped him. The salty Pacific air stung his face. His hands were wet, more out of nervous habit. But thinking about the days before his arrival on Iwo Jima, it was like meeting a friend he never wanted. A companion of sorts. But remembering the days on the ship were fond. Such confusion in the malleable days before the arrival. The same conversation that was said was simple: “What do you think is gonna happen?” “Nothing good.”

Jack West believed in everything, but even so, the conversations of God were important. Jack West believed in prayer, and the men, such young boys, were so fresh, even when they pretended they were killers. There was always silence after the CO arrived. They were the old guys who saw the First World War. The War to End all Wars.

“Lotta bullshit, if I say so myself.”

“Don’t say that shit to the CO.”

“Why not?”

“Cause as old as that guy is, he will kick your ass.”

The men who talked returned back to doing nothing. Fidgeting. Moving slightly so that they could be seen doing something. But everyone was nervous. No matter what it meant. War is necessary when destroying your opponent, but the indignity I saw, was not categorized by war or what was seen. It wasn’t human.

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