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Battle Scars
by Monica Murphy

That's what he has -- one on the shoulder and another on his back. Surface wounds, "RTD" (Return to Duty) wounds. He can look at them and instantly relive that day in Baghdad. I can look at them and count my blessings. I watched my oldest and youngest children touch each others' scars gently. Her eyes told me she was remembering the fear of having a brother in a war zone. His eyes were harder to read.

"Did it hurt, Bubby?"

"A little bit, Munchkin."

"Mine hurt a lot. They were so mean to me, and it hurt when they cleaned the blood up and gave me TWO SHOTS! They told Mommy and Kay-Kay that I could have died."

He touched her shoulder again. Then he leaned in and whispered to her. She smiled and nodded. She ran to the table with the special wooden box and other things dedicated to her brother's time as a soldier. She brought back a little green box.

"This one, Bubby. It's the prettiest."

"Okay, but let's leave it in there for a while. But that one's yours, Munchkin."

There are five medals in that box that speak of a soldier gone to war. To him, they're metal objects. They don't even begin to tell the story of the friends he lost, the lives saved, the good people of Iraq. All those stories are stored in his memory.

"I thought you would give those to your children someday, Joshua."

"The munchkin can do that if she wants, Mom. The Army gives us medals for battle scars. She deserves one, too."

She chose the one he got for his service in Iraq. It's a standard one that every deployed soldier gets. But it's the prettiest so it's the "most important" in her eyes.

There are two in that box I'm going to have to hide. I can tell.


Write: Monica Murphy

Monica wrote about her story above: "I don't know if you can understand that moment. Seeing a young man with scars from a war pass a medal on to his little sister who fell down a mountain . . . very moving for a mom."

Monica is a member of Mike's Writing Workshop, Our World of Writing, Texas Writers, and IWVPA@yahoogroups.com. She is a published writer and has a novel (From War to Wishes) currently under submission and contract offered. A resident of Texas, Monica is the mother of three children.

Read another of Monica's stories at USADEEPSOUTH: Little Sisters


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