We hear about it. We talk about it. We think about it.
But few of us rarely knows of it. Knows the feeling of it, the pain of it, the agony of it.
We don't know what it felt like when they're in the front line, death staring back at them straight in the face. We don't know what it felt like when the gun fires sounded, or when they could hear the airplanes flying by and dropping bombs everywhere. We don't know what it felt like when they walked through what's left of the battle, seeing blood and dirt and dying men. Some of them could see their comrades, screaming in pain, and they run to them. They see them, a group of 4 men, their legs twisted and mangled, blood pouring out of the bullet wounds that had found a place in their ribs. At this point, it didn't matter if they were friends or foes. At this point, it didn't matter what they were fighting about. At this point, all they were was strangers, meeting each other for the first time, both fighting for their countries. Both believing they could find honor, both believing they were doing the right things.
And then they see them die, right in front of them.
We don't know what it felt like when they rushed over, confused and scared, cradling their heads in their laps, telling them it's ok, it's alright, there's help on the way. And they're crying while they watch them die, and they're asking if there's anything that they could do, anything at all.
"Just hold me."
We don't know what it felt like when the helicopter finally landed, but it was too late. Their breathing had stopped. They weren't alive. They probably had friends back home, a family, a loving mother and father. And they, the ones that are alive, wonders if it was them that shot the ones that are dead right now. The ones that could've lived a better, fuller life. The ones that could've met their soul mate when they went back home, the ones that could've greet their wives and children when they went back home.
And they're filled with regret. And they kept asking themselves, "What if?" What if help had came faster, what if they were still breathing. What if.
We don't know what it felt like when they couldn't sleep at night, so they pull out the pictures of their family, their friends, their children. We don't know what it felt like when they get a chance to phone their soulmates, their wives or husbands, their children, their friends, their parents.
We don't know what it felt like when they receive fantastic news and wished they could've been there.
There was a sigh of relief and a sniffle. "I missed you."
"When are you coming back? The baby wants to see you."
And then the conversation would last for a good half an hour until their time on the phone was up, and they'd say, "I love you."
Another sniffle out of many on the other end. "I love you too."
We don't know what it felt like when they got the letter saying that they can finally go home, finally go home to their family, their friends, their lives. Because war, war is a useless thing, a terrible thing.
But there is just one more battle. One more battle before they can go back home. So they endure it, they puffed up their chests and tell themselves, One more. Just one more.
We don't know what it felt like when they went running, full fledged in uniform and a gun in their hands, wondering what would happen if they all got killed. If they can no longer go home the next day. We don't how much that thought frightened them, how much they wanted to kiss their wives on their forehead, how much they just want to see their husbands, how much they wanted to see their kids.
We don't know what it felt like when they again, went to the front line, the fear they had felt before greater. And the gunshots sound. Running. Ducking. Shooting. Screams. Blood. Bombs. Shouts.
And then they are the ones who's legs are mangled and breathing uneven.
We don't know what it felt like to be so close to death and escape once. To be so close to death and this time, unable to escape. Because right now, right now death is not just staring them straight in their faces, death is leading them, death is taunting them, death is coming, and this time, for them.
We don't know what it felt like when they realize that if they had survived, they would've been going home, if they had survived, they would've seen the birth of their child, they would've seen their husbands, wives, family, friends, parents.
What if they had survived?
If they had survived.
Hopes. Dreams. All gone. Gone in a flash of red, a scream, a shout, and then silence. Blackness. Gone.
We don't know what it felt like when a group of soldiers that had survived sees them calling for help. We don't know what it felt like when they were on the verge of dying. At this point, it didn't matter if they were enemies. At this point, it didn't matter if their country had killed them. At this point, all they can do is cry. All they can do is envy. All they can do is hope. Hope that the living would dare to dream, would dare to chase, would dare to do anything they set their minds to. And then the soldiers, the living, asked what they could do as their heads were cradled in their laps. We don't know how much it meant, how precious it sounded, when they murmured just one word, their last word.