To simply talk about it isn’t enough. If you weren’t there, you just don’t – can’t – know. They’ll tell stories, write books, maybe even film a movie or two, but they’ll never be able to truly know what it was like to be there, in the thick of it, boots on the ground, on April 20, 2012.
I was there and not even I can really put it across to you the horror, the heroism, the cowardice that I saw – and I’m only one man. I can only see so much. So much more will have passed me by; disappeared into the ether.
But I know one thing from my own war: I am a man. I am not afraid. I am unrelenting and brave. When it comes to it, I step up. I am the vanguard. I lead the charge. I inspire. I lead.
I wouldn’t say this lightly and if you know me you know I am modest to a fault. I wouldn’t even have cause to bring it up but, well – it was brought up for me. My efforts were rewarded and I think I’m right to be proud.
It was a hard war. A hard war we finished on the losing side of. Casualties were high. The dead will never be forgotten. But when the dust (and paint) had settled, they decided to give me a medal. Folks, I am The Ultimate Warrior:
Now sure, some might claim that maybe I was just given this because the guy running the place didn’t know who else to give it to. Sure it might have been because I got shot – at least visibly – more than other people did. Sure, it might be because I openly proclaimed to everyone “I got shot on the knob,” because I did. Sure, it might be because I’d actually shot this very guy even though he was a warden and only there to make sure people were abiding by the rules and not getting hurt. Sure, it might be that when he said “but you shot me!” I responded “you were in my way”.
Sure, some might claim all of those things, and they might claim that I don’t actually deserve this award, but… well, no, actually. They’d be right.
Still, I am The Ultimate Warrior. In your face, Jim Hellwig.