I've found that in war, I turn the enemy into my own personal demon. Singular. It is not a collection of enemy fighters, but a single dynamic foe. It is the antithesis for what I hold dear. It is a demon that I can quantify and hold in front of my own face. It is evidenced by men I've never met, and a man I met few times, dying under fire while carrying the colors of freedom on their sleeves. I take that bloody nose and that black eye. I take the broken heart and I set it on fire. I enrage. Not an unfocused and distracting anger, but one that carries me through the sorrow. It steadies my head and leaves my hand shaking. Retribution.
It is my duty. It is my job. And it is my calling to drive the machine that was dropping off warriors hell bent on ensuring their brothers' safety that night. It is a machine that is as clear as day and as black as night. It is war. And it is heavy and dark. Yet it can be glorious. Nowhere in life have I experienced such an assured cause and effect. That is what brings us here. Again. It is what I have strived to achieve. The demon cannot win if I am the proper cause. Because there will always be an effect. Last night, there was an effect. There was a booming, frightening Armageddon. And their was retribution. The addicting "A", that we all love, coursing through my veins. As if I was there. I wasn't. Either night. I am the pillar on which heroes stand. Pride.
And yet shame. God, why shame? Those men were my demon. "Were." Why does shame accompany pride? Why can't I accept that I, and many, many others, are behind the curtain of the show that ends people with literal, explosive force? I am not ashamed of the end. I'm not ashamed of my role in ensuring it. I'm ashamed of being happy about it. I'm ashamed of replaying the concussiveness in my mind in an effort to replenish the fuel for my fire. It was the end of life afterall. And yet I want to tell people. These people. All people. I am telling people. I'll deal with the shame later. Retribution.
I offer no respite from the pain of loss. I expect there is none to be had. I offer only knowledge. Knowledge of retribution. Knowledge of a deserved end afforded to one... no, four. Four facets of my demon. 34 to go. 30, 7, and 1.
For those who know. Not knew. But know Extortion. And for Extortion herself. Always.