Shells and men fall to the ground.
Take the hill the sergeant hound
Fear itself is my greatest foe.
Will I meet death? I do not know
Machine guns rattle, rifles crack
I charge the hill, I push fear back
I show no mercy for I receive none
Fear itself is on the run
I fire my rifle, I throw my grenade
I fire back through the haze.
All is quiet, all is still
I see the bodies, My heart goes chill.
I calm back down, come off my high
I fall to the ground, I start to cry.
I conquered fear, but death remains.
Oh has a heart ever felt such pain?
I stand back up. I dry my tears.
Still the sounds plague my ears.
They plague my ears they plague my mind
Nothing can erase them, not even time.
Now I march,
Back into place.
God give me strength.
God give me grace.
Houston Below, 17, a resident of Missouri, is the grandson of Jone Boettler of Destin. The poem was written on Veterans Day 2011.