Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Heart of an Infantryman Is the Same In Any Language

Poetry continued to pour from my heart about the war as I observed its faces and head its stories while my husband served in the United States Army in Afghanistan after his deployment in 2009. I have really tried to discipline myself to make my own record of the war as I observed it, and to  share that record.  I wrote one poem inspired by my husband telling me of observing Afghanistan men doing basic training after joining the Afghan National Army. I have made friends with some young people from Afghanistan, and I have been privileged to know of Afghanistan and her people through their eyes. We have discussed many issues, and I respect and admire these people, and have somewhat of an understanding of the personal sacrifice and risk it takes for them to raise up their country from the tyranny which has long haunted their land. I do not know that I could put myself and my family at the risk of death to help do the same were it my country. With the discontent toward the war on the part of many of the American people, it would trouble me that I might find myself left holding the bag, without the resources needed to complete the liberation of my country. That they do step out, bringing such risk to their lives, criticism from some of their own countrymen, and from people all around the world, who doubt their true motivations, strikes me as uncommon moral courage. 

So I related the thought process which my husband went through as he observed these strong and proud men at attention before their instructor, when he realized some of them were in sandals, and some even had bare feet. As a Soldier my husband was stunned at the courage their committment represented. You will also get the feel of what the heart is like of a dedicated, died in the wool, ever loyal, honor graduate of West Point and the Army War College, who is a colonel serving his last days of a 30 year career in Afghanistan and Iraq. You will note too how much I love and admire him as well as the people of Afghanistan.  Those Soldiers of the Afghan Army did receive boots.

Bare and Sandaled Feet

He strode purposely from his office, but stopped to stare at their bare and sandaled feet.
Aftghan Soldier in training, at attention in perfect military bearing, his gaze their eyes did not meet. 

How could they run, how could they make a stand?
Were their feet not cut by the rocks, burned in the hot sand?

He continued his powerful stride but now he detoured to command.
His questions were met with assurance that boots had been ordered, plenty to meet the demand.

He returned to his work, where he labored far into the night,
Then made his way to his quarters, laid down, and turned out the light.

Soon thoughts of work faded, and were replaced by scenes of the blessings of his life.
He thought of friends, family, his beloved home, and his strong and adoring wife.

The beats of his heart slowed, and in his mind appeared The Long Gray Line in motion.
Familiar feelings rose, and as each night, again he vowed his "last true measure of devotion"

As sleep stole over him a smile was on his face, at the memory of the strength of the bare and sandaled feet,
And his mind saw visions of a firestorm of courage and valor, which soon the enemy would meet.

Written by Debra LeCompte, November 6, 2010
Dedicated to the love of my life, Colonel Randy LeCompte, and his infantryman's heart,
West Point, and The Long Gray Line,
The Soldiers of The Afghan National Army, and 
The Kabul Milli Boot Factory, Kabul, Afghanistan

                                                        The Kabul Milli Boot Factory, Kabul, Afghanistan