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Paul's Last Letter -- BOTH Audio and Text

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“Dear Mom,” was how it started, like so many I’d received from Paul while he was stationed in Iraq. But this one was the letter that he’d sent to break the news that, as it were, he’d soon be coming back. A piece of correspondence he intended to prepare me for what he knew was going to break my heart, While trying to ease my pain with how he’d actually won a medal for injuries suffered as he’d done his part. “Me and seven other guys were sitting in the mess hall when two Iraqi soldiers - from our side - Burst into the tent and did their best to kill us all. Dale and I survived…the others died. “They tossed a live grenade beside the table where we sat, then - spotted as they fled - they both were killed. What an evil twist of fate……to have your trust betrayed by - those for whom our blood is being spilled! “You remember Dale. The guy I told you played piano. The force of the explosion broke his spine. He’s paralyzed from head to toe. Compared to him, I’m lucky! His future looks a whole lot worse than mine. “They had to take my whole left arm and most of my left leg, and had to work like hell to save my sight. A piece of shrapnel, in my back, came close to blinding me… - I’m afraid to close my eyes at night. “They say in six or seven months, when all my wounds have healed, I’ll get a new prosthetic leg and arm, So don’t you fret, it won’t be long before they send me home and I’ll be there to help you work the farm. “Right on cue, just yesterday - when I came out of surgery - I woke to find a four man camera crew Filming some old General, at my bedside, proudly posing, then leaning down… and I’m not kidding you… “To say, ‘You’ve won a medal, son, and all of us are proud of what you’ve done to set these people free.’ But, Mom…I have to wonder if the ones we’re here to help would sacrifice their lives for you and me! “The doctors and psychologists are constantly reminding me that - even as I am - I’m “still a man!” Gettin’ kinda hard to write…I’m doped up pretty good. I’ll write again tomorrow - if I can. “Meanwhile, you take real good care and give the boys a hug, and gently break the news to Carly Sue. I wanted you to hear this first ‘cause - though she’s pretty strong - it’s clear that Carly finds her strength in you. “Love you, Paul,” was how it ended - just like all the rest. But, sadly, Paul’s ‘tomorrow’ never came. Which means he never read my note that swore, no matter what, we’d always love, and need, him just the same. The coffin Paul came home in seared an image in my mind…..the folded flag was hard for me to take… And no one but the family of a soldier lost at war can comprehend the sacrifice they make.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2021

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