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Fine.  Stand down.  And thank you from this old sergeant and all the wounded and ill.



The Old Sergeant had been called to Washington to meet with the General.  If it had been anyone but his friend he would have refused to come but he owed him for all the times he had keep his butt out of trouble.

The old sergeant was used to walking everywhere so that was exactly what he did from the Marriott, on Army Navy Drive, to the pentagon.  He planned on entering the Pentagon at the River Entrance.

He was walking down the sidewalk and he passed a homeless person sleeping in the street.  Shaking his head he moved on.

From behind him he heard a soft voice:  Pappy?

The old sergeant stopped dead in his tracks.  NO one called him Pappy but his closest friends.  He turned around and went back to the figure lying under a blanket on the sidewalk.

“Son, do you know me?”

“Pappy I served with you in Iraq.”

“What’s your name son?” Pappy said.

You know me Pappy.  I’m Tom.

Sighing Pappy knelt beside the man and slowly helped him to his feet.  His hair was down past his shoulders and reeked of vomit.  His skin was almost black from dirt and grime, and his clothes looked wet from urine.

“Tom? What happened to you son?”

“After I got out ------ I got sick Pappy.  Then I lost everything I had.”

Wrinkling his nose Pappy said, “Yeah.  Sick and drunk.  And you stink.  Well come with me.  I have a meeting I can’t miss.”

Pappy had a harder time than he thought getting in the Pentagon with a vagrant but was let through after a call to the general.

When the General opened his door to admit Pappy he couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow.  “Well, the guards were correct.  But they didn’t say it was this bad.  Come in Pappy and bring Mr.    Tom with you.”

“When I ordered you to report it was to give you a new assignment, not to bring in bums from the street.  Well never mind.  You say this    Tom is a veteran?  COLONEL!”

A full bird came running at the Generals call.

“Yes Sir!”

Colonel please take Tom and     do SOMETHING with him.  Mercy throw him in the shower, get him an old uniform and then feed him while Pappy and I talk over old times and drink some Jack.”

An hour later the General and Pappy were still arguing:

“General you know I would do anything for you Sir.  But I simply cannot leave my men in a new and unfamiliar location without leadership.  I have to go back to Afghanistan.  And forgive me Sir but being your aid is not compatible with my, uh, personality.”

The General laughed.  “Well, now that is probably true ---.”

The General stopped in mid sentence as the colonel came in with an aid that looked right out of a recruiting poster.  Hair to Army regs and uniform that had creases you could cut your finger on.  “Well Colonel?  Where’s Tom?  Did a little clean water kill him?”

“Uh General?  This IS Tom.”

The Generals mouth fell open.

Pappy just smiled.  “General, Tom was my platoon leader when we first arrived in Iraq and a fine lieutenant Sir, if I may say so.  I stopped on the way up here to look up his record.  More medals than you can shake a fist at; outstanding record but lost his commission when he refused to send his men on what he considered was a suicide mission.”

“And I must say General I agreed with him.  I was one of those men who probably owe my life to the LT.”  Guess he took to drinking after he got thrown out because I lost track of him.”

The General was still staring.

“Uh, General, if a person happened to be looking for, oh---I don’t know.  Say an aid?  He would be hard pressed to fine a highly educated, combat veteran like Tom.  That is Sir, if someone just had the pull to get him back in.”

The General turned around and glared at the old sergeant.  “Don’t patronize me you old war horse.”

Looking at the Lt. again the General said, “Colonel bring me his record and start the paperwork.  Get him into a billet and I want him in an alcohol treatment program.  Now both of you get out.”

As they were leaving the Lt. turned around; “thank you Pappy.  We’re more than even.”

With that they were gone.

“Pappy, sit.  We need to talk.  Now you tell me how in the world you knew I wanted an aid before you got here!  AND tell me how you knew you would stumble onto the Lt?”

“General!  I’m no psychic!  But I do believe that God has a place for all of us.  A home for everyone.  Sir did you know that on any given night there are about 300,000 homeless veterans sleeping on the streets?  Most have PTS or a drug/alcohol problem.”

The General just kept staring.

“Look at it this way Sir.  You just did a nice thing.”

Pappy grinned up at the General.

Finally the General said, “Sigh.  Yes I know all those things my old friend.  Ok.  Go on back to your men and TRY not to get killed or get into any more trouble.  You GOT that Soldier?”


As Pappy was headed out the door the General said, “Oh Pappy?  Tell me the truth.  Did you KNOW about the job before you got here?”

Pappy turned around and winked as he closed the door behind him.

The General just shook his head and smiled.

Steve Newton 

All stories and content as told by Steven J. Newton are fiction. Resemblance or characterisitcs to persons or locations are coincidental. Steven J. Newton © 2004-2011


As an old war horse I have seen this country go thru some good times---and some very bad times but I have never seen times like these.  There seems to be something in the air and it stinks.  It smells like some countries I have been to where there were no freedoms.  It smells something like despair and hopelessness.

I don’t understand how this could have come upon us so swiftly, except maybe that the stage had been set years ago and it built upon itself until it exploded across this country in a wave of liberalism.

First it was Roe v Wade; Then no prayer in schools; Now its gay marriage and a general decline in self responsibility.  We should have seen it coming and put a stop to it.  But we got lazy.  We thought this couldn’t happen here.  No one could take away our freedoms.

Well we were right.  No one on this earth can take away the freedom of even one American----we are still too strong for anyone to seriously challenge us.  But we forgot one thing; Other Americans.  Our freedom is being eroded from within.

Greed, evil, non responsive politicians, lack of patriotism, cowardliness, laziness and lack of religious convictions has slowly stolen this country.

And I sit here and watch while good people whine and moan, “There is nothing we can do!  All is lost!”

Well I am here to tell you all is NOT lost!  I have seen the strength of America in the faces of our young men and woman in the military.  I have seen the strength of America in the faces of our veterans, our wounded and our ill.

Our strength is intact but our leadership, from all parties, has lost their way.

Without looking can you tell me the 5 largest nations in the world?  For you that are geographically challenged they are:  Russia, Canada, U.S.A. China, and Brazil.  Can you tell me where the U.S. ranks in GDP?  The United States stands second to none and I am tired of people saying we have lost our standing in the world, that we are becoming a second rate Nation.

If you listen to the news media and our OWN leaders, you would think that we have already become a banana republic.  Well we haven’t.

And I am very tired of people apologizing for my Country.  I remember losing 3000 of our people on MY watch.  People that I had taken an oath to protect.  I took it personal and still do.

And you folks that took an Oath to defend the Constitution?  Was there an expiration date on that somewhere that I missed?  Come on.  Time to be Born Again Americans!

We will always be the leader of the world unless we give it away.  We have gone through bad times before and come back stronger.  We will do so again.  Where is your American drive and optimism?  If something is wrong—we will fix it.

Take heart my fellow Americans.  Stand up for what you think is right.  That Star Spangled Banner still waves.  God bless you all.

“Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  Book of John


All stories and content as told by Steven J. Newton are fiction. Resemblance or characterisitcs to persons or locations are coincidental. Steven J. Newton © 2004-2011



The Old Sergeant was sitting at his make shift desk drinking a Jack, smoking and looking through a photo album that Sam had sent to him from Missouri.

Dog was in his corner sleeping.

The sergeant was never much one to dwell on the past.  But as he sat and started to go through the pictures of his career in the army a melancholy settled on him.

Military bases around the world.  Some exotic places and some so desolate he would just as soon forget them.

Pictures of him at Ft. Leonard Wood.  Pictures of his graduating class.  As he perused the picture he saw that sixty percent of them were dead.

Others long retired.

Vietnam.  Smith, Jones, Edwards, his buddies.  Dead.

Pictures of his friends came floating by his eyes.  Johnson, his mentor in boot.  Dead.

Johansson who had saved his life during Panama.  Dead.

Grenada.  Sam, who had pulled him out of a burning helicopter.  Dead.

Tears started to form in his eyes as he continued to turn page after page.  War and death had followed him all his life.  Or he had followed war. He took another drink of Jack.

The first Gulf War.  Eddy, Tom, John and Paul.  Only one left that he knew of.

Picture after picture.  The smiling faces.  How young they all were and full of piss and vinegar.  He looked at his face in an old broken mirror hanging on the old wall.

Where had youth gone?  Where was the young man that was going to save the world from evil all by himself?  Gone: like most of his friends.

A deep sadness settled over the old sergeant.  Was it worth it?  The loss of friends?  The loss of his youth?

He had no family and few friends.  He had never had the time.  Now he was alone.  Maybe, just maybe it was time to go. 

He could not see himself sitting on his front porch in Missouri and rocking away his time.

But maybe it WAS time.

A knock on the door and the old sergeant quickly closed the photo album.
“Yes,” he said in an uncharacteristically low voice.

His corporal poked his head in.  “Pappy, the men are lined up out front and want to speak with you.”

“What?  What for Corp?”

“Pappy, I have no idea.  Just relaying the intel.”

Grumbling he got up and followed the corporal out into the compound.  Dog followed close behind.

“Ok I’m here.  What do you all want?”

“Pappy.”  One of the goon squad said.  “We figured we would take a picture of the whole platoon.  We wanted you in it.”

The old sergeant stood stock still, memories flooding his mind. 

Finally he walked over and took a knee in front of the men, dog beside him.  His men:  His kids and his family.  They were all smiling and flexing their muscles for the camera.  Weapons brandished in dangerous looking poses.

He felt their energy run through him.  He couldn’t leave these kids alone.  He would stay.  For now.

The flash went off.

And there was a small smile on the Old Sergeant’s face. 

One last smile for the camera.

Steve Newton
© 2006
All stories and content as told by Steven J. Newton are fiction. Resemblance or characterisitcs to persons or locations are coincidental. Steven J. Newton © 2004-2011


It was that time of year again: A physical for dog and the old sergeant didn’t look forward to it. Last time was almost a disaster but the old sergeant himself was going this time. There would be no surprises.

The old sergeant was surprised at the age of the vet. He was heavy set, white haired and had a soft, off handed manner that made you trust him almost immediately.

“Sergeant! Good to see you, your right on time. And this must be sergeant Dog. Nice to meet you both. Please have a seat sergeant, you can stay and help. Sergeant Dog, would you please come here for a moment?”

Unbelievably Dog walked over while the doc leaned down to speak with him.
“Ok. Ground rules. What will they be sergeant Dog?”

Dog looked sideways as if taken aback.

“Yes. You will set the guidelines. What will they be? May I touch you?”
Dog lick his teeth.

“Good! Let’s begin—up on the table please.”

Once on the table the doc approached gingerly but became more comfortable when Dog didn’t immediately tear his head off.

“Hummmm, 33 inches tall----185 lbs. Uh---Hummmmmm. The doc felt between the dogs legs---both testicles descended—he moved his hand up inside his back leg and consulted his watch. 97 beats per minute. Hummmm”

“Sergeant Dog, would you mind jumping down and bringing me that chew toy across the room?”
Dog was up immediately and pounced on the toy, jumping up on the table and offering a slightly chewed up chew toy.

“Gate strong, appearance regal, back straight as an arrow, slightly stand offish, seems to have a large vocabulary and bite on the force transducer is—oh my—416 lbs."

“Sergeant this is not a German shepherd.”

The old sergeant raised an eyebrow.

“Well I mean to say he is but then again he isn’t. He’s a Shiloh. Let me explain. A normal Shepherd is about 25 inches tall and a large one runs about 90 lbs”.

“The Shiloh Shepherd resembles a giant version of the German Shepherd Dog (GSD), though they possess a much gentler attitude inherited from the Giant Malamutes in their ancestry if the blood line has been kept true and they have not been trained to be otherwise.”

“The difference between the Shiloh Shepherd Dog and its parent breed, the German Shepherd Dog, according to some, is essentially that the Shiloh is the dog for people who fell in love with the German shepherd as it was in 1962. They say that the breed has changed so radically since then that dogs of that type can no longer be called GSDs. Who knows for sure but without a doubt the Shiloh is larger than was ever the norm for GSDs. In other words, Sergeant Dog is basically a 'real' Shepherd.”

“But then again Dog is not normal even for a Shiloh Shepherd. I mean he's BIG.”

“Understood, Doc. So what does all this mean?”

The vet took a moment.  “Well----nothing really sergeant. Shilohs can't be shown in any sanctioned dog show. I guess it's just interesting. I have never seen a Shiloh in Afghanistan or Iraq.”

The old sergeant was lost in thought for a second. “Uh doc what would happen if a Shiloh was bred to another shepherd that was half wolf?”

“Oh dear sergeant. I'm afraid the off spring of such a union would be—problematic. They would be fiercely loyal but they would be death on steroids if trained to kill.”

“I see Doc. Well are we done here?”

“Yes of course. Sergeant Dog you pass with flying colors! You both be safe.”

As they were driving back to their FOB the old sergeant was thinking about Dogs mate Judy and their litter. He smiled slightly. The enemy was in for some deep crap.

Steve Newton
© May 25, 2011
All stories and content as told by Steven J. Newton are fiction. Resemblance or characterisitcs to persons or locations are coincidental. Steven J. Newton © 2004-2011

Dog with Wings

The old sergeant was leading his men in a house to house search for terrorists and bomb makers. Their area of operation had become a hot spot for IEDs and the sergeant had had enough. In his opinion the terrorists were being disrespectful of him and his platoon by even operating in an area under their control. He planned on putting a stop to it.

It was hot, dirty and dangerous work, going house to house not knowing what to expect. And their job was made all the more dangerous because dog was not with them and this was where he did his best work. Dog was in the “International Zone,” the old Green Zone, getting his yearly physical.

As dusk started to fall the sergeant reminded his men that this was the most dangerous time of day. Shifting shadows and poor vision made them vulnerable.

As the goon squad started into another house small arms fire broke out. As usual, the 1st squad did not back out of the house but continued inside, one or two coming in the windows. As the sergeant tried to follow them inside he was met with a hail of gunfire. The first squad had taken the first floor but was taking fire from the stairway leading to the rest of the building.

The sergeant backed out of the door firing his carbine as he went. He immediately headed for the building next door, taking the stairs three steps at a time until he was on the roof. Without stopping he made the jump between buildings and hit the roof where his men were trapped down stairs. He smashed the door leading into the building with his shoulder and took the Muj by surprise. In 10 seconds it was all over in a hail of carbine fire. Ten terrorists were on their way to met Allah.

“Hey girls!  I’m coming down and if anyone shoots me I will be VERY pissed off,” the old sergeant yelled as he started down the stairs. As the sergeant made his way down the 2nd and 3rd squads finally arrived. But there was not much to do. The fighting was over.

“Well, nice of the others squads to join us. Where you ladies been, the powder room?”

“Aww Pappy. We just stopped for a burger and fries. You know it’s passed supper time,” one of the 3rd squad answered.

The sergeant just grunted as he motioned everyone out.

Several hundred miles away, Dog was getting more and more impatient. Military regulations required that every canine on active duty have a yearly physical exam but the vet doing the examination was beginning to think this dog might be an exception. It was the biggest meanest dog the vet had ever seen.

The vet would not even approach Dog until he had given him a sedative. After Dog had fallen asleep the vet moved him from a cage to a table removing the muzzle at the same time. It took two people to lift this dog.

As the vet started to listen to the dog’s heart he noticed something strange. The heartbeat, instead of being slower because of the sedative, was still beating fast and getting faster. The vet was not a stupid man and as he yelled a warning for everyone to step back, dog was up in a heartbeat and racing toward the exit.

The vet looked at his assistants and shook his head. “Before you all say anything, I gave that animal enough sedative to knock out a horse. And no I have never seen anything like this but I think it is safe to say that animal has passed his physical. And I would imagine he will find his way home. Now if you will excuse me, I need a drink.”

As Dog raced out of the building he had only one thought and that was to get back to his pack and to the man. As he was running down the street he heard a familiar sound and veered off to the right and straight onto the tarmac of the heli pad in the zone. Sure enough, Dog recognized a man that was part of his extended pack.

Cowboy was just getting ready to lift off on a supply mission when something landed inside his old Huey. In seconds he felt hot breath on his neck and when he turned around he almost had a heart attack. Right behind him, teeth barred, was the biggest animal he had ever seen. And he did not look happy. All the crew members had frozen on the spot and were staring in amazement.

Seconds passed and Cowboy relaxed. “Dog, you scared the HELL out of me. You ever do that again and I will toss you out of this bird at 5000 feet!  And don’t get so close. You’re slobbering all over me and you have Muj breath. And put a helmet on.”

His crew had never seen dog before and thought Cowboy was crazy as he reached back and rubbed the dogs head. Dog allowed it.

Cowboy laughed. “Don’t give it another thought men. This is the old sergeant’s friend. And any friend of Pappy is a friend of ours. The only question is, why is Dog here by himself and where is Pappy?”

Dog growled low in his throat. A low rumbling sound that could be heard over the sound of the chopper blades.

“Hey, ok, ok!  Let’s see what we can find out,” Cowboy said as he reached for the radio.

The old sergeant and his platoon were still trying desperately to clear out their AO. It was almost dark now and the men were seeing the enemy behind every corner. Off in the distance he heard a familiar whoop whoop that sounded like an old Huey. Naw, Pappy thought. Cowboy has to be a hundred miles from here.

On board the Huey cowboy was faced with a dilemma. Cowboy did not know exactly where Pappy was even though Headquarters had told him the platoon was operating in this area. And Dog was becoming more and more excited pacing back and forth in the chopper.

Cowboy could not contact the sergeant because he did not have the frequencies so he did the next best thing. “Dog, you’re going to have to help me find him. When I fly close you let me know and I will drop down close enough for you to jump out.”

Dog barred his teeth so cowboy figured they understood each other. And sure enough as they circled around a group of building dog licked Cowboy on the ear and before he could be stopped he had jumped out of the crew chiefs door.

“Dog!” Cowboy screamed, but it was far too late. Oh no. He thought. If I have killed Dog I’m dead. I know Pappy will kill me. And I can’t believe he would survive a jump from this height.

Looking out his window he was relieved to see that Dog had landed on the top of a building some 20 feet below. Knowing there was nothing he could do now he banked the old Huey back on course for the supply mission.

The old sergeant had just started to interview a group of young men they had cornered in a house when a black and brown streak of lightning flashed passed him and struck one of the men in the throat. As the terrorist brought up his hands to try to defend himself he dropped a grenade he had been hiding. Lucky for everyone the grenade had not been armed.

The terrorist was not so lucky though. He lay in a pool of blood, his throat torn open.

It took a second to register with Pappy what had happened. “Dog!  Where in the world did you come from?”  It was then that he remembered the sound of the old Huey.

“Aw, ok. Guess you found a friend to bring you home, right boy?”

Dog just barred his teeth. Pappy gave the dog a pat and looked up into the night sky.

“A flying dog. Well. I hope you flew first class!”

Steve Newton  © 2006

All stories and content as told by Steven J. Newton are fiction. Resemblance or characterisitcs to persons or locations are coincidental. Steven J. Newton © 2004-2011


The Old Sergeants platoon was patrolling just north of the Pakistani border and he had to admit it was WAY different than Iraq.  They did a lot of urban fighting in Iraq but this was just plain black limousine transportation.   In other words they were humping it out along a mountainous trail.

The Sergeant was uneasy about the number of places he could see for an ambush but he saw no other way to beat the Taliban out of their holes other than just walking up on them.

He had point and flankers out to give the rest of the platoon a little warning and he smiled to himself when he looked over and saw the Padre humping right along with them.  And he was armed.  Everyone in the Sergeants platoon had to be armed and qualified but it was unusual for a Padre to be so.  In fact, truth be told the Padre shouldn’t even have been here but he had insisted.

The men respected him for that and he had earned the right to be called, “The Padre.”

They were just approaching the top of a small rise when all hell broke loose.  Small arms fire and accurate mortar fire erupted all around them.

“Everyone move off the trail!  They have it zeroed!”  The sergeant screamed as he returned suppressing fire.

The heavy weapons squad opened up to give the other squads time to find cover and get a bead on where the enemy was.  For several minutes it was utter pandemonium.

The old sergeant finally got a position on the enemy and ordered grenades and heavy fire.  And as fast as it started it was over.

As soon as the smoke started to clear, the old sergeant yelled for a report.

All the squads reported in and the medic reported three wounded.

The sergeant moved his men to a protected area and called for evac.

Looking around he found no trace of the Padre.

“All squads!  Location of Padre!”

No one had seen him since the firefight had broken out.

Running back up the trail he spotted the Padre right off.  He was standing right out in the open with his carbine still pointed at a Taliban fighter.

“Padre!  What are you doing?  Get back with the platoon now!”

The Padre didn’t move.  Tears were running down his face.

“Padre?  This man is dead.  Let’s move.”

In a very weak voice the Padre said, “Pappy?  I killed him.  He had a bead on the goon squad leader so I shot him.”

“Yeah Padre ya did good.  Now let’s go.”

“No Pappy.  You don’t understand.  I KILLED him!”

He dropped his weapon and fell to his knees.  “Lord Father forgive me!”

He had completely lost control and the old sergeant used his radio to have the goon squad to come up and physically take the Padre to the evac area.

Three days later the Padre would still not come out of his quarters.  They had gotten back to their base and the wounded had been taken care of, but Pappy had a feeling that the Padre was a casualty.

Finally he couldn’t stand it anymore and he pounded on the Padre’s door.  “Padre!  Open this door right now or I’m coming in through it!”

Not a sound.  But as he tried the door he found it unlocked.  The room was dark but huddled in a corner he saw a small form on the floor.

“Padre?  You ok brother?”

Slowly getting to his feet he said, “No Pappy.  I killed someone.  I took a life.  I’m supposed to be a man of God and I have broken His commandment.  He will never forgive me.”

Breaking out a bottle of Jack and turning on the lights Pappy said, “Padre.  If you had let the goon squad leader be killed THAT would have been taking a life.  You did what you had to do.”
Fighting for one’s country, for our freedom
“All of us were taught not to kill.  That is one of the fundamentals of society.  But we all know that war is different on a massive scale.  In war you kill or be killed.  Is it easy and is it easy to get over?  Not for me.”

“Some of the sights and sounds of war will remain in your mind forever but that doesn’t mean this has to ruin your life or your relationship with the Lord.”

“Many have given their lives, as well as taken the lives of others, in battle to keep our country liberated so that we can be free to take care of our families, work, and serve our God to the fullest. This has been ordained from the very beginning of time by God.”

“Let me ask YOU a question.  Is there anything you would not forgive your children for?  You may not like what they have done but would you disown them?”

“The Lord says, is there a father among you who if his son asks for bread will he give him a stone, of if he asks for fish would you give him a serpent?  Then, if you, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your son, how much more the Father knows how to give good gifts to him who asks.  Matthew 7:9-11”

The Padre looked up at the old sergeant.

Pappy smiled.  “Well I DO listen to some of your sermons Padre.”

The Padre gave a weak smile.

“All true Pappy and I thank you.  But I’m done.  I am resigning my commission and going home.”

“You sure about this Padre?  Sigh I see that you are.  Fine I will handle the paperwork.”

As he was leaving Pappy looked back:  God bless Padre.”

The Padre arrived at the airport and forlornly walked out to hail a cab when someone grabbed him from behind.  As he turned around he couldn’t believe his eyes.  It was the goon squad leader he had saved.

“Padre!  Good to see you Sir.  Heard you was coming so the wife and kids decided to meet you.  And you’re staying with us and no argument.”

Dazed, the Padre didn’t know what to say; and he had no other plans for sure.

Three days later the Padre had started to settle down and relax.  It was a very homey setting.  The kids were playing and sounds of cooking came from the kitchen.

“Padre, you know I never thanked you for saving my life.  You not only saved me, but you saved my kids from being fatherless and my wife from being a widow.  I and the men have always looked up to you.”  He laughed.  “Yes especially Pappy.  The men have come to rely on you.”

Tears started to form in the Padre’s eyes.  “They need me?  They DO need me!  And I know God will forgive me.”  He sighed.  “I’ve made a horrible mistake!  I got to get back!”

The squad leader looked at the Padre a little funny.  “Mercy Padre.  Don’t push it.  We still got a week of leave yet before we have to go back.  Nice of Pappy to get us both leave at the same time wasn’t it?”

“Leave?”  The Padre looked up to the Heavens;  “Thank you Lord.”

Steve Newton
Copyright 2009
All stories and content as told by Steven J. Newton are fiction. Resemblance or characterisitcs to persons or locations are coincidental. Steven J. Newton © 2004-2011


Forever came crashing to a halt. He was gone. And she stood in Arlington—alone.

Secretly, all along in the lonely nights she had expected it. She received the “call” yet it was the visit that stayed with her. An old sergeant—one with a look of regret and sadness, and something else. He was unlike any military personnel she had met previously. It was his voice, soft for such a huge man, like a father’s, that had held her together. He had come in honor of his soldier—and her soldier.

The promise of a lifetime had been broken in less than a second of time with the old sergeant’s words. Somehow she had kept breathing though hope had slipped somewhere past her reach.

Now, her tear-filled eyes soaked up the presence around her. She searched the horizon for a sign. The torrential downpour was fitting and welcome, or was that just her own tears? The wind lifted her hair across her face—her hand trembled as she brushed it away

The sound of horses, their breath, and the solid step of their hoofs on the pavement could be heard in the distance. Seconds whispered by, and the sound grew stronger. The air was crisp for a summer day, but suddenly the wind was still----as if it knew something she did not.

The woman stood straighter, her eyes grew wide as she searched to find the sound.  She gasped, hand to her lips as the horse-drawn carriage circled before her, the Flag draped in perfection seeking respect from all who looked on. The place of highest honor was about to be awakened, if only for a moment, to receive another one of its own. Her own, her Soldier.

She bowed her head to tune out what would come next. But unexpectedly, something caught her attention, there was a stirring. Something was about to happen.

Then out of nowhere the Old Sergeant stood before her. He only nodded and stood straight and tall in the rain beside her while they had placed her husband in the soft dark earth.

As the minister read from the Bible the old soldier bowed his head and she thought she saw a tear slip from his eye.  When the pastor had finished she was surprised to see the old sergeant walk up to the microphone.

In a voice like a cement mixer he started to speak.

“I am not a very good public speaker and I can say nothing to comfort you that your minister has not already said.  But I can tell you about this man we are here to honor today.

“He was one of my men and as such he was part of my family too.  So I feel that I need to tell you all how this Soldier passed from this life to the next.” The old sergeant stopped for a second to look up in the storm darkened sky as if remembering a day that he would just as soon forget.

With a deep breath he continued. “We were on our way from our compound north of Baghdad to our patrol area in Tikrit when one of our lead vehicles was hit by a road side bomb.  At the same time we were ambushed by a large force of insurgents which left us fighting for our lives. It was touch and go for a long time until this Soldier, acting on his own, jumped into a Humvee and started firing the heavy machine gun.  He was in an exposed position but without regard for his own safety, he continued to lay down suppressing fire until we got the platoon reorganized and counter attached.

“When the battle was over, I found him slumped over the still smoking machine gun.  He had been wounded three times.  I carried him out of the vehicle and laid him on the sand.  He was still alive and I sat with him while the medic worked. I can assure you he did not die in pain.”

A far away look covered his face. “As I sat with him, holding his hand, he looked up at me and said, ‘Pappy.  Tell my wife and family--------how much------I love them.  And tell them----that I did my duty-----and that now I am going home.’ I held his hand until he went home.  The Platoon did not let him out of their sight while he was transported and I never left his side all the way to the States. This Soldier did indeed do his duty and above that.  He loved the men in his platoon so much that he gave his life for them.  He died so that a country would have a chance for freedom and he died so we would never have to fight on our own soil.  He is indeed a Hero.”
Then the sound that split the clouds will forever echo throughout eternity in her mind. The prayers, the respect, the pain, the remembrance, all exploded through time as the volley saluted her Hero who would take his place among his new family--Family of the Fallen. She knew she had met her Soldier for the last time. She would leave him with his Comrades, his Buddies, his Brothers.

Again she heard the pain weathered voice of the old sergeant as he knelt before her husband. “I see you have come through again for our men and women that have spilled their blood for this great Nation. You are in the best of company now. Rest in peace. You are a chosen one.”

With this, the old sergeant took the folded Flag and knelt in front of her.  He took out a Silver Star and pinned it onto the Flag as he pressed it into her shaking hands.

Then he whispered something in her ear that she will never forget. “Be proud.  He died a warrior’s death.  He is with his Father now.”

And with that he was gone.  She turned and saw him slowly walking toward a waiting military vehicle and as he got in he looked back. Even from the distance she saw his face was tear-stained now, yet he gave her a smile.  He mouthed words that looked like:  “Goodby, Son.”

And it was her turn to smile through tears. “Goodby, Pappy.”

Steve Newton
Janie Orman
© 2006

All stories and content as told by Steven J. Newton are fiction. Resemblance or characterisitcs to persons or locations are coincidental. Steven J. Newton © 2004-2011


Pain filled my every thought but as I lay on the field of battle the sounds slowly faded away to a light bright with promise

And I found myself standing before Jesus Christ.

I was in full uniform and in my hands was an American Flag.

I did not know what to say or what to do so I knelt down on one knee before Him.

I slowly presented my Savior the only thing I had to give Him.

My love.  And my Flag.

He smiled as He accepted the Flag and I finally got the nerve to speak:

I said, "Lord------I fought for my land.  I fought for God Duty Honor and Country.  I don’t know how long I have been gone. . . . Does my country yet survive?"

He helped me to my feet and then Jesus moved to my side and put His arm around me.

He spoke:

"My son, though the bombs were bursting in air and the red lights did glare

Come the dawn the Flag of your country was still there."

I looked at Him and said, "Jesus, you blessed us from the beginning?"

He said, "Yes my son.  America was created to be my right arm in the world.  To right wrongs and to protect the innocent; to feed the hungry and spread my gift of freedom around the world. Many times you failed.  But most of the time I watched as your country men gave up their lives for liberty and freedom—for themselves and for mankind.  There is no greater love."

As we walked He continued. "The world would be a much different place without America.  MY America.  Evil would rule and run rampant over my children.  Many times the only thing that stood before the evil of the world was America.  I have placed America under the protection of my strong right arm.  But . . .

"As time has passed many Americans have forsaken Me.  They forgot the lessons I had taught them from your countries birth.

"They took My name out of your schools and killed My unborn children.  They embrace all kinds of immorality and many worship at the alter of commerce.  They build up their treasures on earth no knowing or caring that they should be building up their treasures in My Fathers kingdom."

Tears started to form in my eyes.  I said, "Lord, do we no longer have Your protection?  Have we gone too far to deserve You?  Will America perish?"

Several minutes passed.

"Son, all things will pass from the earth, and all things will be made new.  But what will survive forever is the good that was done by Americans."

"So my son, do not worry about your land.  As long as they hold onto My hand I will be faithful to hold onto theirs."

He reached over and wiped the tears from my face.  He gently gave me back the Flag of my land.

"Behold," He said.

Before me was a gold flag pole.  It seemed to shimmer in the light and rose so high I could not see the top.

I looked at Jesus and He nodded His head.

He helped me unfold our flag and hook it to the pole, and as we raised the American Flag together, I heard the Angels start to sing:  "OH SAY CAN YOU SEE BY THE DAWNS EARLY LIGHT--------------------------."

As the Flag reached its pentacle I stepped back and saluted and then fell at the feet of my Savior and said:


Steve Newton
© 2008

All stories and content as told by Steven J. Newton are fiction. Resemblance or characterisitcs to persons or locations are coincidental. Steven J. Newton © 2004-2011