Editor’s note: This four-part holiday series is started by Linda Grey Bunce’s sixth-grade language arts class at Elizabethtown Middle School. They were given the following start to the story: An 11-year-old girl has an older brother who is a soldier in Iraq, and he would not be able to come home for Christmas. But she wanted to do somtehing special for him ...”
I’ve always lived in Elizabethtown - at 201 Broadway Ave. Today, I wish that all of this mess was just a dream.
First of all, I should tell you that my name is Maya Smith, an 11-year-old enrolled at Elizabethtown Middle School. Here is my story ...
One day in early December, I was wrapping gifts when all of a sudden my house began shaking. I looked out the window and saw a black helicopter landing in our front yard. Two men dressed in green Army uniforms jumped out of the helicopter and headed toward our house.
They knocked on our front door; my mother answered the door and invited them into the living room.
When my mother saw the green uniforms, she immediately fainted and feel to the floor. The gentlemen helped pick her upand put her on the couch. When she revived, she saw the green uniforms again and asked the servicemen to please sit down
Meanwhile, in the west side of Iraq, Emanuel Smith, Maya’s 20-year-old brother, was crawling through the desert sands, bleeding from a shot in the side, He yelled to his men, “SANDSTORM.” They could hardly see or breathe in the blinding, suffocating sand. Emanuel heard an unusual hissing as he crawled, desparately trying to reach his base.
The hissing sound got louder and louder; he looked to his right side and saw a snake slithering toward him. He glanced dowm at his belt and saw that his knife was there. He pulled his knife out of his holster and pointed it toward the snake’s head. It didn’t back down. He knew he had to move fast. All of a sudden, SPLIT!!!!! He cut the snake’s head off. Wow, that was a close call, he thought.
He shook himself, trying to get the sand and blood off of his uniform, but there seemed to be very little sand on him. The sandstorm had subsided; his soldiers were still crawling. He gave them orders to go inside the builng and clean up. they were all close to exhaustion. Emanuel had lost alot of blood and soon became delirious. When he woke up, he was ina Bagdad hospital.
Back in Elizabethtown, Colonel Allen was telling Maya’s mother that he had received a call from his commander telling him that her son had been badly shot in the side and would not be able to come home for the Christmas season. He would stay in Baghdad hospital until he could be flown back to the states. The colonel told them that Emanuel had been delirious after at first after entering the hospital. He thought he was in heaven and that Nurse Jennifer was an angel.
When I (Maya) heard the news, I knew that I had to do something special for my brother. I decided to send a package to Iraq; I must work fast. There would be time enough for the package to get there if I hurried. My family agreed to send Emanuel an old family video, adding comments from each family member and some memories from several of his friends. His brother and sister (Lamont and Laquetta) drew pictures of the family and the Christmas tree.
My mother videoed each of us as we told “E-man” how much we loved and missed him. We knew that these thoughts and memories would cheer him until he could get home and get a hero’s welcome home, as only Elizabethtown knows how to do it.
But I still had to think of something extra special from just ME!
— Part two of this four-part holiday series will be provided by Bladenboro Middle School. It will be published next Friday.