A TRIBUTE TO THE UNIFORM
WRITTEN BY EMMANUEL IKOROMASOMA
A soldier is not someone who fights in the army but someone who is willing to sacrifice is life to save yours. Yusuf was his name while on morning Parade a Youth Corps Member told him, ‘you will die’ just because he corrected him. Yusuf called us to order and said, my friends, I have seen death but I chose to live. In 2001, I was called for a Peacekeeping mission in France. I left my pregnant wife to honour the call of duty. there in France, I fought side by side with my brothers in arm but death is a necessity of war. As each man fell from the bullets of our enemies, with bullets to my eye and leg, I could only see the pictures of my beautiful wife and my unborn child with memories we have had. I saw death but I chose life. my friends didn’t have enough time to make a choice like I did and so they died like animals in cold blood.
For good 3 years we fought with our lives on the line of death without calls from families only text doctored from the headquarter. But then in 2004, I got back with one eye and a broken leg hoping to see my baby and my beautiful wife but then the news came even before I could get home and it says; “Sorry, your wife and kid died from a bomb planted on a bus in Maiduguri” I was broken, nothing ever made sense, I regretted ever surviving, with heavy heart, a swollen eye and a broken leg, i cursed my actions but I had no option. I couldn’t protect my family rather, I risked my life protecting yours who then protect ours? My friends, this is a picture of my son I never met. With tears in his eye he said, I am a soldier and not a robot, I am a just like you, a human, I feel and I have emotions too. I deserve respect and prayers as much as you do and not a curse of death!
“Mayday, Mayday, Mayday, we have no idea where we are going, we are going to crash…help..help..NAF Mi-35M say your position, over! Damasak in Borno providing close air support to troops of 145 Battalion…Please help…help…help….Mi-35M say your Altitude, over! I don’t know…I don’t know….we are going to crash….we are going to crash…help…help..Mayday, Mayday, Mayday, we are rolling,….rolling…..
Those were the last words before their end. It was a night never to be forgotten. I still see and feel the dark cloud and the reddish sky painted by the ballistic bullets from known and unknown guns. Yes, I could still hear the ranging cry from our paratroopers gunned even before the parachutes could kiss the ground. They fought tooth and nail never to return except with victory but then they died in victory. These men died protecting you and I, they died protecting a country that has failed to protect their families, they believed in a country that doesn’t believe in itself because of bad leadership and fellowership. My friends, nothing can equate the life of a soldier no matter what value we give it.
Every day, every hour, every minute and every second these men in uniform die in our bushes, our creeks, air and even our roads. They die defending our peace even if it means they, dying in pieces. I am not a soldier, but I feel the pain and agony each and every soldier out their go through because they don’t get the respect, prayers and accolades as much as they should. They are soldiers and not robots, they are just like you, a human, they feel and they have families too as such, they deserve your respect and prayers as much as you do.
I am from Rivers State and a native of Okirika. I attended New Era Brilliant College Borikiri, graduated of Rivers State University Port Harcourt were I studied Office and Information Management. I did a certificate program in Uniport in the Department of Theatre and film Studies. I love writing, dancing, and sport. I fell in love with poetry in my secondary school days and ever since poetry has changed my life.
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