REMEMBER THE LIVING AS WELL AS THE FALLEN
It's Armistice Day. Ducky and Jethro are getting ready to go to a service.
An established relationship story.
Written: November 2006. Word count: 592.
They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
Ode Of Remembrance
No family ties, or bloodline link, could match that bond of friend
Who shared the horror and kept on going, at last until the end
I Do Not Know Your Name
My father served in the Great War; the war that was meant to end all wars.
Jethro's father served in the World War that followed. The war that showed how man had forgotten, far too quickly, the horrors of the years between 1914 and 1918, and the devastation those years had left behind them. But forgetting is something at which we humans are remarkably able.
Jethro himself saw active service, more than once, with the Marines.
I, as a doctor, did a tour of duty in Vietnam.
Between us we have many medals.
Most of Jethro's are his own.
Most of mine belonged to my father, and to his father before him.
On this day each year, we are asked to remember those who gave their lives for their countries, and for their fellow man. We are also asked to remember those who fought and lived to tell of the horrors.
My father rarely spoke of his time in battle. Few servicemen and women do, at least not beyond the basics, the information that can be found in history books.
I do know that I, as a doctor, had a 'relatively easy' time, compared to my beloved and his fellow servicemen and women.
Jethro hides most of his emotions behind a shield he has carefully constructed over the years. His eyes rarely tell, unlike my own, of how he feels, of what he is thinking; at least they do not outside of the home we share together.
And yet, on this one day each year, he allows his shield to crumple; he allows his eyes to show his feelings. As he stands with his fellow man, service personnel and civilians, he does not hide the hell that somewhere inside him he still feels.
Each year I remember the fallen. However, it is also important that we never to forget to remember the living as well; those who came home. Nor should we forget that many of those who did survive, now live with the guilt they feel because they did survive.
Each year I pray that the world will never again know war in any country, in any place, in any home. That families will not be torn apart; that people will not give their lives so that others may live; that the innocent may not die.
Each year I pray. Each year I know it's futile. But I go on doing it. I have to. Maybe one day . . .
"Here, Duck, let me." Jethro straightens my already straight medals. My own I choose not to wear; compared to those who fought, I feel I did little to deserve them. Instead, on the right side of my jacket, I wear those belonging to my father and grandfather. Men, like all those who serve, who did not seek medals and recognition; who gave so much of themselves to help protect humanity.
I nod and look up at him.
Under my gaze I watch his shields crumble, and his eyes begin to talk to me. For a moment I wish they would fall silent.
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