IT'S HAPPENING ON YOUR OWN FRONT LAWN"

Discussion in 'VMBB General Discussion' started by inplanotx, Mar 8, 2003.

  1. inplanotx

    inplanotx Active Member

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    Mithrandir
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 392
    (12/17/02 2:00:00 pm)
    Reply IT'S HAPPENING ON YOUR OWN FRONT LAWN"
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    This is one I saw last week, that I think should be shared...


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    "I want you to realize that every desolate hill that soldier defends in that far off land is in reality your front door."


    By Robert J. Fallon
    1st Lt., 17th Infantry Combat Team:


    I want to tell you something about a war.

    I want you to imagine for a moment that it is a very cold, wet, wintry evening at about 10 o'clock. You have been sitting comfortably by your fireside reading the evening paper. It's been a pleasant day, dismal outside, but warm and restful by the fire. You decide to step out on the porch for a breath of air before turning in. I'm sure you've done it often. But on this particular evening, a strange sight greets you.

    There's a great hole right in the middle of your front lawn, and the dirt has been thrown up all around it, outlined sharply against the white, even snow. Squatting in the hole is a hunched figure. Let me tell you something about him.

    He's been in this area now for about three weeks, living in a dozen holes just like this one on your front lawn. The most apparent thing about him is that he is cold, and that's because out on your lawn it's about 20 degrees colder than where you're standing. Every now and then he'll grab his shovel and dig a little deeper in the hole just to keep warm. That's the only way he has, because he'll be seen if he builds a fire, and he may bring mortar fire into your living room.

    He's been cold for a long time-and wet. He can't feel his feet, and he's getting worried because he's afraid they might be frostbitten. It's going to be a long night, and it's going to get colder.

    He's very dirty. The grease from a hundred "C" rations is frozen to his parka and gloves, coating the two weeks' beard which covers his face. Soot from the small fires he dares to make during the day is all over his pants and boots.

    But he's dirty all the way through. He hasn't changed his underclothes in over a month and he doesn't intend to for some time to come. It's too cold to go down that far. You can smell him, and it's bad. He's pretty hungry, too. They didn't get his rations up to him until after dark and he couldn't build a fire to thaw them out. He'll have to wait until morning. A cup of hot coffee would sure taste good. He looks old with that beard and sort of hunched over posture. But he's only about 19, though not like any 19-year-old you've ever seen. You may wonder what he's thinking about as he sits there during those long solitary hours.

    Well. it's not much. Just how cold it is and again how nice that coffee would be. Maybe every now and then he thinks of home, but that's a long way off, and the cold, his feet and his hunger are much more immediate. You'd be surprised how those three things can fill your mind.

    You notice that he's cut a hole through your hedge and his rifle is sitting on the pile of dirt pointing in readiness through the opening. That's another thing he's thinking: When are they coming again? He gets a little scared out there all alone. He'd like to go over and talk to his buddy in a similar hole about two houses up, but it's not a good idea to go crawling around at night. He wishes they weren't so far apart but is seems they always have a big sector to cover with never enough men to cover it. it doesn't help being so far apart.

    What would you like to do for this man? Ask him to your fireside, get him a cup of coffee? Would you like to loan him your razor and let him take a hot shower? Give him a bed to sleep in instead of the dirt and cold of his fox hole? Sure you would! You wouldn't think twice about it. But I'm afraid you can't. There's someone on that hill over there who wants to get into your front door, and the man was told by his platoon leader that he's supposed to take care of your house and the one next door. So he can't come in, and you find that you can't reach him. He's very far away. But you come out in the morning and he's still there, huddled over his little fire, thawing out his hands and his rations, trying to get the feeling back into his feet. By this time the hole is pretty deep from all the digging and he's cut down a little more of your hedge. He's there again when you come home from work. While you are greeted by a comfortable fire in a living room, the soldier is getting ready for another cold night.

    I have told you about this soldier, and placed him on your front lawn because I want you to realize that every desolate hill that soldier defends in that far-off land is in reality your front door. There are people who want to get in to do you harm, and it's his job to keep them away. He's going to do his job, and he's not going to ask you to do it for him. If he has to sit on your front lawn in the cold, that's just the way things go. He's not going to begrudge you the comforts of your fireside or your dinner table, but he'll be mighty bitter if he finds out that you're not doing your part of the job.

    What is "your job"? Well, it's not really important what I happen to think "your job" may be. But I think it is important that you find out soon what it is and start doing it, for whatever it is, it's a vital part of a country's struggle for existence.

    Perhaps it would be more clear to you what your job is if you returned home tonight to find that hunched shivering figure sitting in a hole on your lawn.
    ___________________________________________

    Robert Fallon, after being severely wounded in combat in World War II, eventually ended up in Washington, D.C., as a patient at Walter Reed Army Hospital. While there he wrote this essay.

    The above article appeared as an appendix in Harry Maihafer's book. From the Hudson to the Yalu (Texas A&M University Press).





    Esse Quam Videri

    hope6970
    *VMBB Staff*
    Posts: 1320
    (12/17/02 8:47:37 pm)
    Reply Re: IT'S HAPPENING ON YOUR OWN FRONT LAWN"
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    Good One, Mith.

    I have read that before and as always, it makes ya stop and think about our present times that we live in. And just think, this was written during WWII.


    Hope

    Tac401
    Administrator
    Posts: 2525
    (12/17/02 10:28:34 pm)
    Reply

    Re: IT'S HAPPENING ON YOUR OWN FRONT LAWN"
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    Here it is with the picture pub50.board.com/fvietna...1292.topic I posted it in here on
    12/09/02 however, I titled it differently with the above
    title in the text area itself instead.

    I had cut that story out of a news paper about 7-years
    ago(before I had a computer)and found it last week while
    going through some of my things. I then typed it in here
    and TLynn hosted the picture that was in the article for
    me.

    If you want to see the picture that was with this article,
    then either click the above link, or slide down to the post
    in here that I made on the 9th. The picture is 50% of the
    article, and brings out the meaning to the fore front.
    TFF VMBB Email Tac