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Strictly Country Magazine Nu-Blu 640 Battlefield Drive title

A mother’s goodbye...

 

   She didn’t sleep at all the night prior.  She knew that this day would come, she just didn’t think that it would come so soon. 

   She cannot remember when her boys were up before dawn, especially on a Sunday.  It was always a battle to get them up, washed and fed in time to head off to church.  Now, here they were up before sunrise off to fight their own battle.

   On the front porch, they stand, waiting for their bus.  They both look so dapper in their uniforms.

   In recent days, she had watched behind closed doors, as other mothers in the neighborhood said their goodbyes as they too sent their sons off to war.  Now, it was her time and her turn, to send her two boys off to fight.

   She does all she can do to stay strong. She’s not going to shed a tear. She doesn’t want her boys to worry about her, while they are trying to stay alive in the confines of war. She’s dressed in her finest Sunday dress as she wants her boy’s last image of her to be a good one filled with love.

  With a forced smile, she looks up into her eldest son’s eyes.  He has become a handsome man, just like his father was.  She cups his face in her hands and says…

   “You watch out for each other…”

   “We will, ma…” he replies.

   She embraces him in a hug, all the while taking in his scent.  She kisses him on the cheek and turns to her youngest son.

   “Now, remember to say your prayers each night and don’t forget to write me, once a week…”

   “We will mama…” he replies.

   She holds her youngest in her arms, perhaps a bit longer than he had hoped for.  Again, she takes in his scent and stores it some where in her memory.

   “We’d better get going…” says her oldest.

   Both boys grab their bags and walk down the porch stairs.  At the end of the walk her youngest turns, he smiles a waves.

   “I Love you…” she calls out.

   Its only after the boys are out of sight that she walks back into the house and falls to the floor to shed the tears she had been holding.

   She wakes each morning, climbs out of bed and falls to her knees in prayer…

   “Lord, please bring my boys home safely…”

   Each night, before climbing into bed, she falls upon her knees once more in prayer.

   “Lord, please hold my boys in your loving arms and keep them safe…”

   While her boys are off fighting on some foreign land, she is fighting her own war—on her knees in prayer.

   It’s a scene that has been played out far to many times and it is a scene that will continue to play out as long as there are wars.  The brave head off to serve, while their families are at home serving on their knees in prayer.

   In 2017, Bluegrass group Nu-Blu captured this story in their rendition of a song called “640 Battlefield Drive.”

640 Battlefield Drive

(Connie Harrington / Bonnie Baker)


640 Battlefield Drive
Two young men and their mama hugging in the porch light
The sun is barely coming up
Two young soldiers waiting on the bus

Dave’s just like his daddy was, he loves a good fight,
Jon’s just like his mama, he does what he thinks is right,
And their mama, she’s the strength in their hearts,
She waits until they drive away then she falls apart.

It’s just like any other Sunday morning,
Most of the world is still asleep.
Everybody’s got their own idea of what war is,
But to her it’s a battle she fights on her knees.
She prays her baby boys will be alright,
She prays for peace on earth at 640 Battlefield Drive.

She knew what the letter said so she didn’t open it.
Your country and your President sincerely regret,
To inform you, your sons aren’t coming come,
There will always be two empty chairs where they belong.

It’s just like any other Sunday morning,
Most of the world is still asleep.
Everybody’s got their own idea of what war is,
But to her it is a battle she fights on her knees.
She prayed her baby boys would be alright,
She prayed for peace on earth at 640 Battlefield Drive.

She finally picked the letter up in her trembling hands,

The words she read were bitter sweet

and through her tears it said,
“Your son Jonathon will receive the purple heart,
He’ll be released on Monday he’s been honorably discharged.
David gave the greatest sacrifice,
We’ll mail his things to...

640 Battlefield Drive.”

 

   “Normally, I would be all—goto our website.  Go check out Nu-Blu.  That’s not what this song’s about.” humbly tells Daniel Routh of Nu-Blu.  “I just want people to remember and to be thankful when they hear this song.  This song is bigger than any band.  The message in this song is what’s important.  It’s about those specific individuals that have given their lives and their time!  Even the ones that came back! There was four, five, six years of their lives that they spent at war!”

   The song comes from their 2017 album Vagabonds and is performed in a breathtaking and finely-calibrated melody mixed with Carolyn Routh’s elegant vocals to create a song that is the epitome of what Memorial Day is all about.

   She’ll never forget that fateful day; the day she heard the knock on her front door.  She hurried to the to the front of the house, while thinking it was a neighbor.  When she opened the door and saw the Union Telegram messenger boy, her heart sank.

   She could barely make her arms move to accept the telegram the boy was handing to her. Although the piece of paper barely weighed a gram, it felt like a ton of bricks in her shaking hands.

   She sank to the floor as tears filled her eyes.  She just knew, call it mother’s intuition, that she would never see her boys again.

   In time, she finally gathered up the courage to open the envelope to read what it said…

 

 The secretary of war desires me to express his deep regret that your son...

was killed in action...


(This article was printed in the May / June 2018 issue of Strictly Country Magazine.)

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