Brookswood Secondary student Christine Kline, Grade 12, sent along a piece created for Socials 11 on the First World War, a piece taken from the perspective of a soldier at the front:
How Could I Tell Them?
My feet ached terribly as I stood there, shivering in the rain. I could see the discomfort in the faces of the men around me, not only because of the physical conditions, but also because of what we were watching take place in front of us. Lawrence Clark, a fellow soldier working with our unit on the front lines was penalized with death for deserting. I was there. He had broken down, shaking terribly, and speaking things we couldn’t understand. He didn’t make it far from the trenches in his attempt to get away before collapsing and being hauled back. It was well know among us that he was suffering from shell shock.
Now Clark stood in front of us, blindfolded and tied, his head hanging. The firing squad took aim. There was an unsettling moment of silence, then four shots. Lawrence Clark fell motionless to the ground. He was only 19. He was not the first. He was, in fact, the second soldier guilty of deserting this month. None of the men really talked about it, but there was some kind of a deep understanding of what we were all going through together. This understanding was not something that we could expect our families at home to relate to. Nonetheless, we were encouraged to write letters to our wives and children often, as they would generally write to us quite regularly. Thoughts spun in my head as I sat down to write. What could I say? The letters were censored, so I chose my words carefully…