Sunday, March 06, 2011

A Soldier's Story of 20 years Ago

Purim Saddam
By Tzvi Jacobs

"Hi, Mom. Got my orders today," David Zuk said. "I'm going to Saudi. I have to leave first thing tomorrow morning.

"Oh, no," his mother said, her "no" echoing in her 20-year old son's head.

"I was assigned to the 101st," David said with a sinking voice, as he slumped against the glass wall of the phone booth. "I almost cried when they told me."

The 101st Airborne Division, nicknamed the "Screaming Eagles," fought on the front lines during all the wars: World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and Viet Nam. Only a fraction of the early ranks had ever returned alive.

David's mother tried to find encouraging words for her only son, but it was hard. She had never been able to get used to her son's unpredictable life choices. When he was 16, he had become involved with Orthodox Jews and made himself separate from the family by eating only kosher. Two years later when he joined the Army, she just about gave up. Now, upon hearing this ominous news, all she could think was, "I told you so."

The Gulf War had broken out a month earlier, on January 17, 1991. David knew he would be on the front lines, facing the open jaws of the ravenous war. "They said we'll be there at least a year," David said, not knowing when he would see her next. "Take care, Mom. I love you," he added faintly,

David closed the door of the phone booth and ambled back to his barrack. Gazing at the snow-covered hills surrounding Fort Knox Army Base in northwestern Kentucky, he was awe-struck by their quiet beauty, as if seeing them for the first time. He wondered if he would ever see them again. He thought of the preposterous story circulating around the army base that someone had predicted the war would end by Purim, the Jewish holiday instituted to thank and praise G-d for saving the Jewish people from a decree of annihilation some 2,300 years ago.
Read the whole story, here.

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