Colors of a Blind Man

He tied the bandana around his eyes, chuckling to himself about the irony of a blind man wearing a blindfold. He felt the wind wisp softly through his hair, bringing a lock down over his forehead and across the bandana. It was a battle several weeks before that had blinded him. A mortar had landed not ten feet from him, and the blast had thrown him backwards; something had struck him in the face. It was a miracle that the only injury he suffered was the loss of his eyesight. Being a resilient man, he had begged his commanding officer for some sort of position, still eager to fight for his country. They had given him the task of being the flag-carrier; it had been assigned to him out of pity, of course, but he still took the opportunity to serve in any way he still could.

His responsibility was to hold the colors aloft for as long as he still had breath. The men would rally to him, knowing that as long as the flag still flew, the day was not lost. It was a simple job, but in his mind, it was still an important one. He stood, and one of the men walked him to his post, handing him the flag when they arrived. He could almost taste the salt in the air; they had marched their way somewhere near the coast. He could feel the tingle on the wind as well; there was a storm on the horizon. This night would be a long one.

Soon, the men had taken their positions, and the general gave a rousing speech to the troops. Thunder rolled in the distance, and horses could be heard whinnying and stamping across the field somewhere. With a great shout and a loud trumpet blast, the battle began.

The storm blew in quickly, with cold rain and sleet crashing down on him with surprising intensity. He stood his ground against the storm.

Cannon fire shook the ground, with several cannonballs landing nearby. He prayed for strength and stood his ground against his unseen enemies.

The night wore on, growing cold and angry as the storm whipped into a frenzy. His hands felt frozen, and he trembled in the wind, wondering at times if the flag was still within his grip. Several times he fell to his knees, slamming the staff the flag was tied to into the stiff earth, climbing unsteadily back to his feet. The noise of battle grew closer and closer, at times feeling so near that it must be mere inches in front of him. The cries of injured men and the sound of muskets firing blended with the howling wind in the cacophony that surrounded him. Still, he stood strong.

Eventually, the din of battle began to wane, and three blasts of a trumpet were heard in the distance. The enemy must be retreating, he thought. He shook off the cold, invigorated by the possibility of victory, and was bolstered by the sound of hundreds of men shouting and howling. The familiar trumpet was heard behind him: one long blast, indicating the day had been won.

He smiled, adding his own voice to the roar. The horses could be heard, returning from the battle lines; several men ran up to him and hoisted him in the air. He proudly waved the banner over his head with as much might as he could muster. The night had been long, and difficult to endure, but they had overcome the enemy. His job may have seemed menial to others, but he still counted himself among the victors. His work was not much to speak of, but he had endured the elements and stood strong against assaults he could not see, block, or dodge. He had faced the darkness, and just as his brothers in arms had emerged victorious on the field, he felt he had achieved a victory of his own. He had held on through the chaos, and had never let the colors fall.


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