Just Another Poor Boy, Gone Off To War

Via email, this is a tale of two wars, two unnecessary deaths, and one universal truth. That is to say that elites throughout history have always exploited the human instinct for herding up, offering loyalty to supposed authority figures and confusing "patriotism" with the malevolent schemes of the rich dreaming us into endless wars for profit .

"When will they ever learn?"

PRIVATE SYLVESTER WENDELL
(JULY 1918)

Captain Matlock was receiving a number of letters from the parents of men killed in action, so he decided to write to the next of kin of each dead man, as shown by his service record book, and he detailed me to gather the facts in each case and to write appropriate letters of condolence.
I sat there in the company office writing my letters while Steve Waller, the company clerk, made up his payroll. I gave every man a glorious, romantic death with appropriate last words, but after about the thirtieth letter, the lies I was telling began to gag me. I decided I'd tell the truth in at least one of the letters, and this is what I wrote:

"Dear Madam:
Your son, Francis, died needlessly in Belleau Wood. You will be interested to hear that at the time of his death he was crawling with vermin and weak from diarrhea. His feet were swollen and rotten and they stank. He lived like a frightened animal, cold and hungry. Then on June 6th, a piece of shrapnel hit him and he died in agony, slowly. You'd never believe that he could live three hours, but he did. He lived three full hours screaming and cursing by turns. He had nothing to hold on to, you see: He had learned long ago that what he had been taught to believe by you, his mother, who loved him, under the meaningless names of honor, courage and patriotism, were all lies ..."

I read that much of the letter to Steve Waller. He listened until I finished, his face without expression. Then he stretched himself a couple of times. "Let's go to the billet and see if we can talk the old woman into frying up a batch of eggs," he said.
I didn't say anything. I just sat there at the typewriter. "These frogs can beat the whole world when it comes to frying eggs," he said ..."Christ knows how they do it, but they're the nuts when it comes to cooking."
I got up then, and began to laugh, tearing into fragments the letter I had written.
"All right, Steve," I said: "all right; just as you say!"

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from Company K by William March. Finally publish in 1933 after a long struggle and personal anguish. Has always been kept in print by the University of Alabama Press. Alistair Cooke described March as "the unrecognized genius of our time."
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http://tinyurl.com/276qt6
Apr 25,2007
Redmond (Oregon) Marine killed in Iraq
by Bend Weekly News Sources

A 20-year-old Marine who was raised in Burns and graduated from Redmond High School in 2005 has been killed in Iraq, according to local media reports.

After serving in Iraq for less than one month, Lance Cpl. Dale Peterson was killed by an improvised explosive device (IED) on a roadside in Anbar province, Z21 reported.

Lance Cpl. Dale Peterson as he appeared in the Redmond High School year book - photo courtesy of RHS
Peterson's sister, 23-year old Melissa Davies of Boise, told the Oregonian that her brother was the second-youngest child and the only boy of four siblings.

Peterson's mother-in-law, Linda Riser, told Z21 that the fallen Marine's wife, 18-year-old Lance Cpl. Regina "Reggie" Peterson, is a Bend native and graduate of Mountain View High School, and that they married last July 26.

Lance Cpl. Dale Peterson was a member of the 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion of the 2nd Marine Division based in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

"This is about a boy who had the courage to go in the military and fight and die for his country," Peterson's father told the Oregonian.

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