The Flags and the Men

The Flags and the Men

The heavens opened up, as snowflakes enveloped the barren land in a pristine white cover. The man tightened his uniform around him, took a swig from his thermos and rushed inside. The flag fluttered softly near his bunker. 

Your father died a martyr. You should be proud of yourself! How often had he heard those words? He had promised his wife that his boy would never meet such a fate. But then, that blood flowed in his veins. 

What’s that rustling sound? He took out his weapon. By that time, his mates had also emerged from their respective bunkers. 

And then the silence was ruthlessly destroyed – by the sound of guns firing continuously. A pool of crimson formed around the men’s bodies as they fell, and mixed with the snow, turning it into a subdued hue of pink. The final nail in the coffin came in the form of an ear-splitting explosion, as if passing on the final confirmation to the enemy.

The man groaned. A thousand splinters had lodged themselves into his feet. He felt a searing pain on his back. He lifted his hand – and then his eyes fell on the flag. In the mileue, it hung upside down. Let your nation’s flag flutter high. This had been drilled into his head by his father. And later, by his superiors. I cannot discard my flag like this

He placed his hands on the snow, winced as the iciness tore into his palms, and crawled towards the flag post. I should not let the flag fall down! Every second reminded him of his mortality, but he soldiered on – like a true soldier. He reached the post, held onto it for dear life and slid his legs backwards, in an attempt to lessen the dull ache in his body. Time is running out. He looked above but saw no sign of God. Muttering a silent prayer, he stood up in a swift motion. He could feel his soul getting ready to leave his body, but he had a task. He pulled the flag towards him gently, kissed it and set it straight. He took a step back to hoist it, but fell to the ground, never to rise again.


The minister looked at the statistics. He got up and adjusted his glasses. “Secretary! Don’t forget to tweet about the compensation we will be paying to the bereaved relatives. Elections are nearing.”

There was a soft knock on the door. A young man came in. “Sir. I have some grim news. Citizens are wearing dresses with our beloved flag on it.”

The minister thundered, “Idiots! Get them arrested on treason. That’s an insult to our nation.”

He then took a deep breath and looked at the assistant. “I will visit that soldier’s house tonight. Get the chartered plane ready! What was his name again? Whatever! Ensure that our media person accompanies us. Ok? And before I forget, let’s take the flag with us – to drape it over his coffin.”


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