Dad said I shouldn’t join the army,
Shouldn’t serve my country.
He asked me why?
I told him it was to do my home right,
But I knew that that was a lie.
I always would wonder why?

Basic training flew by.
Jumping, running, diving.
Stripped guns and stripped minds.
Learn to take orders like rounds to chest.
Don’t ask questions, don’t waste time.
Don’t you know we have a war to win?


Back home.
I was in a grocery store, saw a kid playing with some toy pistol, pop, pop, pop. Nearly flipped, nearly crashed to the floor like I did when they had us running with rocks in our packs in IET. Stepped outside for some air, saw a bag lying on the ground near a car, IED flashbacks. Dogs getting blown up as they tried to sniff out little packages of BOOM!

Tour 2.
Officially veteran level.
Younger guys, staring up at me, thinking, if this guy did it maybe I can too.
It doesn’t always work that way.
A damn bag detonated on a highway.

They medevac me out.
Rush me in to the temporary camp hospital.
Doc tells me it’ll be alright,
But I’ve seen it before,
I’m dead, or will be soon.

Last thoughts.
Why did I join up?
I ran through the bullshit I’d told myself.
Pride in my country, protect American lives, help those abroad from tyranny.
Truth hit me like the shrapnel off the IED that killed me.
Had to prove myself.
Had to prove myself to who knows what, who knows who.
Had to show myself I could handle it.
Had to know. Why did I join up?
Dad was right.

Newspaper headline. Obituary column.
Corporal Sam A. Rozner died in battle.
He was kind, gentle, and funny.
He died serving his country.
He fought to preserve American ideals now and forever, protect American lives, and end tyranny abroad.

Saul Rubin ’16

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