As I sat and thought about what would catch and hold a reader by the nose, an old picture on the wall distracted me. It's not much of a picture, just a group of guys at work in a rather desolate place. This picture has rather special meaning to me, and carries with it a whole assortment of memories. The unknown is always worse then the known. Don't listen to rumors or try to imagine what it's like here. This is a modern sophisticated, highly technical, well-planned war.

One I am sure I will return safely from. This war is not what is seen on television or talked about sitting at your favorite watering hole. This is a war that must be fought here and now, not based on past victories or failures. This truly is a war unlike any ever fought, yet a fight the world cannot turn away or hide from.

We are here to insure the right of people to live in peace without fear of a more belligerent nation stripping the thin veneer of civilization away from them. A veneer that has been carefully nurtured for thousands of years to protect us from our more primitive instincts and ourselves. The rights and freedoms of innocent people have been infringed upon and the world... no, I cannot turn my head and walk away. Yes, my chosen profession is that of a soldier. A soldier by definition trains to be proficient in war and in the ability to cause destruction in the most efficient way possible.

Perhaps this is why the soldier is also the one who most hates war and fighting. It is he who must carry the burden, endure the hardships, the pain, and the anguish of being the bringer of destruction. This same soldier who after months of living in a hostile environment, surviving the manmade hell of a modern battlefield can often be seen giving food or perhaps his last bit of hoarded chocolate to a small child. A child that has also survived the horror of war. Yet, I go forward in the morning with a light heart. Knowing that what I feel is shared by thousands of other soldiers.

These same soldiers that I may be asked to kill in a matter of a few days. For part of a soldier is the bond or link that exists between themselves. For these professionals know each other by sight. Indeed the soldier, the true soldier, has no political bonds.

His duty, morals, and ethics are the guiding forces in his life. Soldiers come from many lands, cultures, backgrounds, and social structures. Yet all share the same basic beliefs, be true to yourself; do only what is needful and temper your hand with compassion, when you do strike make it swiftly and forcibly. Beware the fair maidens who catch the eye of these men, for they are unlike any others they have known.

Men that will regal them with stories of distant lands and exotic cultures. Men that are not afraid to not only look death in the face, but also face life's daily challenges with a smile. What a long journey for a chance glance, at a battered picture hanging on the wall. Now I must close these musings, as I still have to write something for class.