Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Boys of Woodland Park

It is normal for young men to rise up against foreign invaders; it is normal for young boys to want to start early.

When I was a boy, I attended a one-room school in Woodland Park, Michigan, a small African-American village at the northern edge of Newaygo County. During recess, we had our games: baseball, wrestling, fishing, and in the winter, we went into the swamps to beak ice.

But no game mattered to us like our war games. We were Marines, and we held ourselves to that unique discipline. We even had to each learn the Marine Corp battle hymn, and be ready to sing it.

It was the late 50’s and early 60’s, and the enemy invader was the Germans. They lurked behind every tree, and beneath every knoll. Many a day—with rock grenades and guns made of sticks—we bravely charged mortar batteries and machine-gun nests in defense of Woodland Park. It was our job. We took it seriously.

No one told us to do this—we formed our battalion instinctively, and waged war on the imaginary enemy with the zeal of Spartans.

Today when I look into the innocent faces of Afghan boys on the evening news, I see in them the Boys of Woodland Park—the same spirit, the same yearning to fulfill a primal destiny.

As we wage our 21st century wars on these foreign soils, let us be wary of becoming the face of the eternal invader. For if it comes to that, the Boys of Afghanistan will dream of us. And, in their dreams, they will vanquish the invader. I know. I was one of them. It is their job.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow Cuz, amazing that during the same early years, my brother, cousins & friends, and I were seemingly protecting a unique patch of very high brush with (bamboo type trees), which was about a half block along railroad tracks that set on a high mound descending about 50 yards to resident fencing - southside Chicago. We called it 'Monkey Jungle'- our wild kingdom, our DMZ, whatever we imagined it to be for us that day. I'll spare you the episodes of frolic and drama we experienced, but I feel you on the spirit to serve & protect from THE ENEMY. Monkey Jungle was a convenient short-cut for a lot of people and we had to discern friend or foe, inbetween rock fights with the kids (trying to stake claim) from the other side of the tracks! My 20 year career as a Marine was never a desire growing up. It was just my choice when the military was a feasible option at that time in my life. If I was to wear a uniform - I liked that one best. Didn't intend to make it a career, but the experience enabled a more realistic perspective of war & peace, life, liberty, freedom, and even death. I'm not much of a dreamer, but rely heavily on discernment and visions. God Bless You Bro!