He cried.

He didn’t cry when he enlisted, because he was both proud and scared. But his mother did.

He didn’t cry when he was at boot camp, worn out, and so tired he could lie down and sleep in the mud. But his buddy did.

He didn’t cry when he was sent to the war zone, he was scared and worried, but proud to serve. But his girlfriend did.

He didn’t cry when he was so miserable with the heat that he thought every last bit of liquid was sucked out of his body. But he wanted to.

He didn’t cry when he had to spend days outside the wire, sleeping in the sand, and living off MRE meals. But he did get mad and cuss a lot.

He didn’t cry when the EID blew up in front of him, he was too busy trying to save the lives of the men and women in his unit.

He cried, when he saw the rifles and boots lined up, helmets on top, representing those who didn’t make it. Then he cried, because those were heroes, brothers and sisters in arms, men and women who laid down their lives for him, and all Americans, in a miserable desert far from home. But, not for long. He had to get back to the job he was trained to do.

He cried, when the airplane carrying him home lifted off from that evil land, and he cried again when he saw his family waiting for him when he got stateside. He cried to see the girl he wanted to marry. He cried when he walked into his home after nearly two years away.

He cried when he didn’t stop having the dreams about wounded and mutilated bodies of his friends and companions.

He cried when everyone told him to just forget and get on with living.

He cried, then he pulled the trigger that ended his life.