*Note the reader. This blog posting is posed as an analogy. War is a disease unto itself. There is no disrespect intended for the men and women that guard our shores. This is meant to illustrate on how the war on disease can be just as brutal and unforgiving. Some of the imagery you are about to read can be considered graphic by some. - JM
We all know it. Most of us understand it.
We see it everyday.
It's on all of the media. It trends. It lives and breathes as a nightly headline.
It's a war that rages every minute of every day of every month of every year.
In terms of victims, whole nations are swallowed.
Millions have died.
And the soldiers?
These are people who are struck down in a matter of seconds or decades.
They don't volunteer.
They are definitely drafted.
For once there is no discrimination.
Men. Women. Children. Adults. Teens. Toddlers. African American. Native American, Caucasian. Hispanic. Asian. Every nationality is drafted.
As with all conflicts, often there is no real grace to speak of. Politics fail here. Many times dignity is an afterthought.
There is a fragmented story of one six year old in particular.
The day he was drafted was the day his father discovered a lump the size of a golfball on his neck.
He was wounded from the outset.
Gashed to be saved. Saved only to be gashed again.
He saw angels in the form of nurses, and ministers both medical and spiritual.
He had nightmares that led to habitual sleeplessness that led to staring at television patterns until the dawn finally broke.
He suffered from what one of his many psychiatrists later called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
He vomited from medicines that may have been called poison by anyone who happened to fall upon them in a darkened cupboard.
When he finally saw the shore, he suffered a relapse.
"Once more unto the breach dear friends, once more."
Swimming against a current that never relented, he cried to his mother that he wanted to die.
He wanted to lose his own personal war...
This was his childhood.
A domino had fallen. Rarely does one fall in solitary confinement. It hits other dominoes and the cascade continues.
The child made it to adulthood. He had hit the shore and for a time there was peace.
But this war is never truly over. It just recedes with the tide only to come back in full force once again, drafting at will.
The soldier suffered from other wounds. Heart blockages. Radiation fallout. Etc Etc Etc.
The story could go on, and probably will go on for a millennia. Just insert another name. Jane Doe. John Doe. No matter. The beat will go forth. A pentameter of retreat and resolve...personal defeat and penultimate victory.
However, there is one other story that runs parallel to this war account.
It, too, is a never ending story. It will never end until the last human has breathed the last breath.
Amazingly enough, it is a short tome. It has one everlasting chapter with one line that coincidentally contains the same words as the title of the book.
It is a simple four words.
Four words that unite every soldier, every doctor, every nurse, every patient, and every being.
The title of the book is We Are Still Here.
The chapter states the same.
It's a book of hope. It's a book of determination. It's a book for all of us.
May we continue to write in this book and may this story continue to have no ending but rather a continuing repetitive chant....
We are still here.