The Distant Soldier
Specialist Widner had thought that music could bridge men –
even enemies at war. He tried to cry but could not. He finally fell asleep and dreamt of the little German girl holding a viola, looking thoughtfully at him and asking, “Kann ich für dich spielen?”
Morning came and with it the steadily louder sounds of battle. He busied himself with cleaning his rifle, then about mid morning Lietenant Miller was back. He he had a piece of paper in his hand. “You have orders to go home, soldier.” he said. “You still bothered about the girl? I can’t imagine.” Before he could utter a word, Widner collapsed in the lieutenant’s arms. Sgt. Buckman and PFC Deed tried to look busy as this was happening. “She saved us, LT. Why did she have to die?” Widner asked, “and her mother watched it all.” The lieutenant turned from him and said patiently, “Don’t blame yourself, blame the war.” From a confiscated volksradio in a nearby tent came the sound of “Oh Tannenbaum” as the good lietentant tried to comfort his distant soldier.