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This story was contributed by Roxanne Clark, Kentucky, USA

Dad's War Memory - Roxane Clark

A smell met my Dad’s nose. What the fuck is that smell? he asked, while he pinched his nostrils closed with his free hand. It was really a question for no one in particular and Dad didn’t expect an answer.

It was some kind of camp. Inside the fence a horrific scene waited. Piles, stacks, mountains of waxy corpses lay about the place in organised disarray. Dad and the men were met by a troupe of skinny rag and bone zombies who milled about in different stages of death. The half deads were laughing, some crying, others just moved their lips with no sound coming out.

The near deads just stared ahead rather oblivious of their liberators presence. During the course of the day, Dad and the men sometimes had a hard time deciding who was really alive or dead amongst the rag and bone zombies, if they weren’t already up and walking.

The rank squalor, death and filth was at a level Dad and the men had never seen before ... It blew their minds. Later, Dad said they had to burn their uniforms because the stench permeated every fiber of the cloth. It was so horrible that Dad said after a while he felt something turn off inside him like someone flipped a switch. (Today they call it compassion fatigue).

Dad took photos. He took them because he didn’t think people back home would believe the magnitude of the suffering and death he witnessed at the camp. Dad sent the photos home. Mom threw them away. She threw them away because they violated every decent fiber of her being.

The photos made her feel guilty even though she did nothing wrong. She didn’t want to believe that human beings could do such vile things to one another.

Needless to say, when Dad returned he was changed.

Dad died Spring, 2002

As the Men and Women who lived during those horrible years of war die off ... memories must be revisited and given new life so as to become a part of the collective conscience. War is Bad. Killing is Wrong ... Evil can and will dwell within the hearts and minds of humankind.

History does and will repeat itself. The power of war memories can only be measured if and when the cycle is finally broken and all agree ... NO MORE WAR!

Roxanne Clark, 9005 Trentham Lane, Louisville, KY 40242, USA