Recently, Milady and I were sitting on the back patio, late of a Saturday afternoon, and I head gunfire from the north. Just to the north of our home lies a National Guard maneuver area, and I surmised that some unit of that well-decorated Brigade was practicing the same arts I practiced so long ago. It sounded like a standard infantry platoon. Two light machine guns drumming a martial tattoo, and the individual riflemen putting down a base of fire so that the maneuver squads could approach the objective.
knew that it was a couple of miles away, but the combined influence of the wind and temperatures made the rifles sound like they were much closer.
My lady asked, "What is that?"
I cocked my head and listened for a moment. "That, my love, is what Doug MacArthur called the rattle of musketry."
Suddenly, I had lost forty years, and was a young shavetail again, leading men older than I, and trying to plot a course to an objective. Suddenly, again, the scene shifted and I was a captain of Armor, leading a Thunder Run across the maneuver area at Knox. The memories were so thick I had to brush them away from my eyes, like a cloud of gnats that suddenly appears.
Men I had served with were with me, and I felt the exhaustion of that final surge up the hill, and the exultation that we had made it.
But, that part of my life is past, and I got up to make a drink, wondering if the young lieutenant leading that platoon had successfully taken his objective, and if his sergeants trusted him.
Oh, it was so long ago, and I remember it like it was yesterday.