Friday, June 28, 2013

A Lonely Soldier

There he stood on a Vancouver street corner, a 30 year old homeless man lost to the world. For who was there to love him or among those he had been close to, to even know if he was dead or alive?

In the cold chilling mist, he wore an old and tattered brown suede jacket over a red, white and black checkered sweater. His second-hand oversized dark gray pants hung loose at his hips, barely held up by his string belt.

Gripped in his hands was a pair of gun metal gray crutches, which helped to keep him upright.

It wasn't many years ago he was a proud young man with seemingly a wonderful future when he answered the U.S.'s call to fight in the Iraq War, and bring honor to his country, as it sought with a blind passion to avenge the 9/11 attack.

During the fighting, he committed heinous acts he never thought he could commit and he witnesses atrocities that now endlessly haunt him.

After his discharge, he desperately sought help from the Veteran's Administration but the response was slow and inadequate and he headed north, hoping to get medical attention in Canada.

But not being Canadian, he soon found himself on the streets, thankful for a warm cot at night in a local rescue mission and begging for food during the day.

"What is your name," a stranger asked him. "My name is Will," he replied. And as the stranger handed Will the food he had just purchased for him in a local market, Will added, "Thank you," as his eyes met those of the stranger and briefly a smile crossed his face.

Would Will some day regain a productive and rewarding life or is he now destined to wander the streets a broken man no-one knows. But for a brief interlude he had a decent meal from the kindness of a stranger.

Note: This story was inspired in part based upon an actual Vancouver homeless man and from the stories of many homeless U.S. soldiers who fought in Iraq. Print Friendly and PDF

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