June 13th, 2012

What do you do when you survive an event that you shouldn’t have? How do you celebrate that day? I try not to let it get to me but eight years ago tomorrow I was in a violent ambush in Taji Iraq. My truck was blown up, a group of men shot machine guns at me, and then they mortared the entire area. A good friend of mine was killed. Another good friend critically injured, and many other good friends injured in ways they don’t understand, maybe never will. I saw the pictures of the humvee years later. It looked like a crushed beer can at the bottom of last night’s campfire. My friends didn’t want to show them to me. 

So what do you do? 

You try to make a monument of your life. You make your life a memorial to those who were killed, the men who never said goodbye to their mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers. 

You make yourself a better person, a stronger person. You must be strong because living through that shit is a burden you can never take off, a yoke around your neck. You must carry the meaning of the lives of the men who died. You must look after the ones they loved and help it all make sense. 

You become better because the only other option is falling apart and those boys from B co, they were great men.

http://militarytimes.com/valor/army-spc-eric-s-mckinley/263041 

Author: Sean Davis

Sean Davis is the author of The Wax Bullet War, a Purple Heart Iraq War veteran, and the winner of the Legionnaire of the Year Award from the American Legion in 2015 and the recipient of the Emily Gottfried Emerging Leader, Human Rights award for 2016. His stories, essays, and articles have appeared in the the Ted Talk Book The Misfit’s Manifesto (Simon and Schuster), Forest Avenue Press anthology City of Weird, Sixty Minutes, Story Corps, Flaunt Magazine, The Big Smoke, Human the movie, and much more.

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