By AJ Cross
The smell of bacon and eggs crept into my bedroom. I looked over at my alarm clock and exhaled, realizing that it was 5:10am and I had chickens, cows and horses to tend to. As I put on my sandals, bathrobe and glasses, I started walking down the old creaky wooden stairs that led right into my kitchen.
As I neared the bottom of the steps, I could see my mother at the refrigerator pulling out the orange juice. She turned around with a smile and said “good morning sweetie”. It was still too early for me to use my vocal chords, so I simply nodded and smiled back at her and took my seat at the table. As I began to dig in to the amazing smelling pancakes and eggs on my plate, she slapped my hand lightly and told me to wait for dad and prayer.
Though my personal beliefs often excluded the need for such rituals, I wouldn’t dare disobey or disrespect my mother, so I put down my fork and waited for about five minutes until my dad made his way inside the house and to the kitchen table. He had already been at work for an hour before I woke up, handling other farm chores he would not yet entrust to me.
He washed his hands at the sink and sat down across from me, not saying anything other than asking my mom to sit down so we could say grace. As my mother sat, we all grabbed hands and my father said “Lord thank you for giving us working hands to be able to provide this food; thank you for giving us working eyes to see the beauty of your creations and thank you for giving us working hearts to feel and share your love”.
We let go of one another’s hands and finally started to eat. My mother, as usual, had very little to say while my father started questioning when I was going to take after my older brother Logan and join the Army and get some “discipline”. It was not enough that I woke up every day before the crack of dawn and completed two hours of chores before going to school and then heading to my job at the Save Smart Shopping Store until 9pm.
My father believed that “real men” fought for their country. His speech was interrupted by the sound of knocking at
the front door. I quickly got up and went to the door before my mom or dad had a chance to react.
I opened the door and standing in front of me was a man and a woman in green military uniforms. The woman asked for my father by name. I asked what they wanted and the woman simply replied that she could only speak to my father. I called to my father, who came to the door pushing me aside. He said “I’m Joe Miller”. The woman took off her cap placed it under her left arm and said, ”Mr. Miller; on behalf of the Secretary of the Army, we want to extend our sincerest condolences for the loss of your son Staff Sergeant Logan Miller, who was killed during a tank explosion at approximately 3:30am”. My father stood at the door as if he had not heard what she just said. My stomach began to turn and I actually began to lose my balance and had to hold onto the door.
My father asked her name and she replied “Sgt. Green”. He then asked her to repeat herself and, before she could even reply, my father moved me away from the door and closed it in her face. I tried to grab him, but he just pulled away from me and went back to the kitchen. Seconds later, I heard my mother scream and I ran into the kitchen and watched as my father held my mother in his arms trying to keep her from collapsing on the kitchen floor.
Since that morning when I was told I would never see my brother Logan again, I have had the same question in my mind: If one day the President, while sitting in the Oval Office, received a visit from two Military Officers who gave him notification that his baby was dead, would that finally bring an end to our leaders so willingly sending our children into senseless battles? How tragic that we live in a world where the military has positions where the only mission is to notify a mother, father, wife, husband or, in my case, a brother that they will never see their loved one again.