It was a lovely day. The light breeze blew gently on his coat, just enough to make his hair stand on his head. Walking along the concrete, he wanted to feel it barefoot – so he removed his shoes and started his scroll down the pier. Who would have thought he would be in this place again, the same one that he used to dream of every night, and see it very differently? A lot has changed over the past fifty years – that much is sure.
For retired Lieutenant General Samuel Cooper, this is no ordinary harbor. Five decades ago he spent time here on this very soil, just before the enemy country launched an attack. Sacrificing his life for the nation was considered heroic, even back then, but it wasn’t as if he joined the military for the glory.
“Every man aged 16 to 64 was required to register for the draft. We were supposed to pick up arms. We were scared and nervous, but we didn’t let that faze us. No one admitted just how frightened he was of the prospect of fighting, but of course, each of us knew that”, Cooper admits. Although the youth of today may not feel the emotional weight of the whole draft experience, they can at least look back to what happened during the military draft by reading this article.
Most of them were after all, boys who just turned into young men, catapulted into the war. These citizen soldiers were what the country needed to raise, train and turn into a military force. Once they arrived at the training camps, their lives were completely changed. To defend the country they hold dear, they had to adapt to the military way of living, which included routine inspection, strict military conduct, and combat training meant to push their physical limits. Individuality and uniqueness were stripped away in a place with identical haircuts, uniform and equipment. Privacy was a luxury they didn’t have.
The attack came as a surprise to the force, even though they had received early warnings of an approaching threat. Aside from the poor communications between the parties involved, no one believed that the enemy country had enough forces and equipment to launch an attack that large-scale. That was the start of the war.
Most of his comrades had died in that attack. Those who had survived went on be assigned in different stations – both in the state and nationwide. Not many had lived to see the country gain peace. The war had not been easy, and those who had survived had lost more than what can be said. Many have silently suffered from long term psychological effects like PTSD which symptoms were thoroughly discussed here.
Three year’s worth of memories came back to him in such an overwhelming rush; Cooper didn’t even notice how many hours he had been spent at that shore. At seventy-three, his strength isn’t what it used to be. Though it has been fun to reminisce, he knows it’s time to return to the rest house.
He is thankful that his grandson and son-in-law are there to pick him up. They knew that he needed time to take in the scenery and process his memories, but they were just nearby in case he needed to leave early. After spending three hours there, he’s gotten as much as he could from that port.
As they drive home in their reliable truck, he again remembers how much this place had meant to him. He never thought he would be back again, but this was good, because he had gotten the closure he didn’t know he needed. They almost never would have arrived here too, because of certain car troubles they experienced on the road. It was a good thing they found the list of nearby Tires Plus Locations on this page when they did a quick search on the Internet.
As the breeze gently caresses his face, he is glad he came back. Cooper knows it’s a kind of liberation to see it once more, at a completely different time and from a different point of view.