I sat. I was looking beside me and in front of me. We were facing each other in the small steel boat. Most of us were just boys, barely over eighteen. We were all nervous, I felt like crying. The General paced up and down between us, handing us guns. We looked at them as if they were some strange tool we had never seen before.
“Boys,” he said in his usual guff tone, “that there in your hands is going to take lives and save lives. It is a tool of power, you can wield it bravely or like a coward. But the brave will be rewarded. We are soldiers! We have no fear!”
Speak for your self, I thought. My palms were sweating and worms were squirming in my stomach. I heard the pilot speak over the intercom. “Approaching destination in two point five minutes,” she said, she sounded as nervous as us. I could feel the reefs under water scrape against the bottom of the boat. A tear ran down my cheek. I fingered my gun. Who was going to be the first on the beach? Would he be the first to fall? Who was going to win? Who was going to be left on the beach? Would it be me? The person next to me? Or both of us?
As I thought these things I could hear the war drums beat louder. The bottom of the boat scraped the sand, the red light flashed above us. The hatch dropped.