Commanders in far-off war-rooms issue orders as if the supply of khaki-clad boys were limitless. Bravely they do as they are told, charging bunkers, strafing airfields, storming beaches. By the tens of thousands they fall, sons, brothers, fathers, uncles. Too many to send home, too many to identify–nameless heroes planted reverently in some farmer’s field. In perpetual anonymity they rest, their final slumber deep, if not peaceful.
Lillie McFerrin’s Five Sentence Fiction prompt for this week was the word “limitless.” When I visited the WWI battlefields near Ypres, Belgium, earlier this year, the rows of gravestones of unknown soldiers buried in Tyne Cot Cemetery seemed limitless to me. No surprise, I guess, since there are nearly 12,000 headstones, 8,300 of which are nameless. The waste of human life took my breath away as I tried to imagine the families back home who were left with empty arms and were not even given the cold comfort of a gravesite to visit in return.
My five sentences didn’t emerge as fiction…my apologies for that.