I awoke to the sound of a thousand bullets exploding and ripping through the air around my head, mixed with sergeants shouting orders and the harrowing screams of my injured peers.
I stumbled to my M1 Garand rifle to join the fight as I had trained for, and upon finding it, sighted in on my first target. He was a young boy, maybe my age, if not younger. I looked directly at him through my sights, and hesitated. The hesitation was not a long one, but not a short one, and if there was ever a time to hesitate, it was not now. I stared at the boy right in the face as if I were getting ready to tell him that his mother or father or best friend had passed on, and the trigger was ever so tight and difficult to pull as I tried to squeeze it to do my duty as a proud Marine defending his country. I hesitated long enough to wonder how exactly this was defending my country for my country was miles and miles and miles away and this boy was right here in front of me, and it was at this moment that I was not defending my country but merely defending my fellow comrade who surely would have been killed if I had not arrived at this intersection of fates first, and only then could I bring the trigger to its most unnatural position.
There was an instant and almost invisible pink mist next to the boy’s face as he jerked backwards and to the side and clutched his face in his last pseudo-second of life, and the boy collapsed.
At that exact moment I felt a white hot pain in my right side, and another in my left arm, and all was white, then red, then black.