NoJoMo 8 Prompt 1: Write a short story using the following words: barrage, revolutionary, scar, golden, and research.
NoJoMo 8 Answer 1:
I was only a child during the Revolutionary War. Of course, we didn’t call it that back then. We called it the War for Independence. Funny how history changes things. Sometimes to make them more epic, sometimes to make them less tragic. But perhaps it is my newfound immortality speaking when I say, “Don’t change the past. Embrace it. Understand it. Hold up the positives for what they are and discourage the negatives. And understand that both can come from the same person, the same event.”
I recall fleeing from our Virginia home under a barrage of cannon fire. Had I been older, the sickening nature of metal ball slamming into bodies, scarring the landscape, and demolishing homes may have been more real. However, at my young age, I only remember terror. The absolute fear that wells in a child when the child knows nothing but the loud sound, the panic in a mother’s face, and the tears of siblings.
Americans love pretending that their enemies are always evil, always monsters, always wrong in everything. It is a position I can understand having lived through the very history of the country, but a perspective my own story disproves. My siblings and I followed our mother at a breakneck speed until we heard the gunfire end. In our haste, we had failed to provide for our needs in our flight and we realized that we would soon need food and water, not to mention a place to bed. We were shaking when we came upon the British Camp. It was the early morning at that time, and the sun shown like a golden beacon of hope in the backdrop of war.
The guard at the gate held fast and aimed his weapon at us as he saw people approach. My mother, rest her soul, knew that death would be imminent if we did not receive aid of some kind and had us all continue forward, though at a slower pace. Luckily, the head of the camp saw us for what we were: women and children fleeing an active battle. He invited us in and said, “Now, whether you support this rebellion or not, you are British Citizens and will be afforded the protection of Her Majesty’s military. After this is all settled, you shall remain British Citizens so it gains us nothing to show cruelty or malice to the innocents of this conflict.”
I have lived now through wars I could never imagine. As people research history and take note of the tragedy of war, I see that stories like mine are misplaced or kept silent. It benefits us nothing to continue thinking of our enemies as beasts; as savages that would find naught but misery without our aid. War, anymore, is never fought by those that seek it. One government needing resources of another government, One religion hoping to force their ideology on those that disagree… in times of the musket, Generals were at least adjacent to or near the battlefield. Now wars can be fought with hundreds of machines and thousands of men and none of them have been given the power to seek peace or to wage war their way. The decision makers can stay in their own country, planning raids on digital maps that selectively show none of the damage or causalities. Where once we maintained that the enemy was faceless, now the people that wage war consider even their own forces to be faceless. To have lived so long and seen so much… the wonders, the horrors… humans so rarely seem to change for the better.
NoJoMo 8 Prompt 2: Write a letter to someone who believed in you even when you didn’t believe in yourself
NoJoMo 8 Answer 2:
I remember far too many tears, too many difficult conversations, and too many times where I needed you to lift me up. And you always did. I may not have become an actor, I may not have changed the world (yet) but I do hope that you can see how all the darkness and pain have led me here, where you knew I’d get eventually. Thank you for all your support and love. It has truly been a guiding force in my life.