John G. Evans

2/25/2020 2:41:36 AM

Alone, with nothing to shield me but the darkness. A deep, spiritual silence. Vulnerable. Nothing to hide me but the depths of an interior prayer. I am in a solitary moment of depth within myself.  Gutted so deeply I hear the voice of my heart. This imploration for a reverent holiness that led me to my angelic visitor. Presence! My heart listens to the stillness of peace. He is with me. A light in the blackness. This depth of silence is frightening! And, still, I listen to the void. So, what does it tell me?

The candle is lit as a war-time flare. The flashbacks become a fierce reality all the way back to ’72. Tracers every third round lit up the midnight sky. A crossfire of M-60’s made the darkness a reddish-orange, paths of golden light made you aware of the power created by this war-time era. Power. So much power! All the while the accretion of gunpowder reeks the air. Even the night has been snuffed out by deadening silence as the orders to cease-fire have been given.

Who could survive such a barrage of gutted shells heading for unsuspecting targets? How would he feel once struck down breathing in his last breath? Or, was he simply snuffed out upon being hit? Why, the pain? Why, the suffering? Who’s to gain? A political advance, I presume. After all, communism was on the rise. And now in 2020 we trade, and even tour the ‘Nam’.

And then all becomes a little easier to catch one’s breath. We (Marines), have survived this field exercise and understand the paths we must partake. Our duty to God, flag and country go way back to an 18th century era. Our Declaration of Independence sustained. Praise to the heavens. Each morning we salute our red, white, and blue. Pride swells.

Back to my little room in ’79 and the silence that clashed with the past becomes a forty-eight-year ordeal. And now, aside from the onslaught of ideation all is quiet. Kneeling, I have discovered a peace as the memories seem to fade into a silvery smoke from the flash suppressor’s angry gaze. Yet, I survived. I was spared from the jungle’s, rice fields, and mountainous areas of the Southeast Asian Theater. Alive, I shall never forget the moments of fear. I shall not forget the courage one faces to stand against an unseen enemy. At times, the enemy can be so close that we may know who our adversary is. But, it all fades to a distant memory as the fear comes and goes. Rise! There remains a deep spiritual silence that feeds the hunger for an enduring brotherly love. Peace my friends. Peace.

Prairie, Idaho with my photographer friend Thom

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