Good Bye-ee

Station Platform Photo: © Al Forbes 2014

As the train slowly gathered speed from the platform, our friends and families disappeared from view. It was then we finally realised that our journey to the British front line trenches in Belgium had begun. Like many of us, I was carrying a photo of a family member close to my heart. To remind me what this expedition was all about.

The excited babble before we pulled away quickly fell into silence, each one of us lost in our own private thoughts. A small group started singing “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary”, but it soon fizzled out. This was more a time for reflection. None of us really knew what to expect. Even though we’d all seen photos and some jerky movie footage from the front. We knew that brave lads giving the thumbs up, before going over-the-top, wasn’t the whole story. Not even close.

As we pulled into other stations, more groups joined the train. The noise level rose as we greeted our new comrades. But as the platforms disappeared from view, the mood always dipped. It was as if we were all playing some great game, for the benefit of those we were leaving behind. Some of them would never understand what we were doing. Some said we should stay well out of it, that it wasn’t our war.

But if not for us, then who did those men die for? Many never got the send-off they deserved. I take out the the small photo of my Granddad, taken just weeks before he was killed in Mons, a hundred years ago. Doesn’t he deserve a few days of my time to take a Battlefield Tour in 2014, and place flowers on his grave? I look at the diverse group of people on this train, and I’m proud that they feel the same way I do.

For the first time, I’m using one story to enter two challenges. The first challenge is inspired by a specific photo, while the other has a completely open theme. Feel free to visit both!

1) Sunday Photo Fiction, September 14th 2014, hosted by Al Forbes.

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 To view other entries in this challenge, click this blue frog!

 2) Pixel Prose Challenge, September 14th 2014, hosted by Amanda Lakey at www.UniqueArt

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To view other entries in this challenge, click this blue frog.