22 Engineer May-August 2010 One weekend many years ago when I was a young Soldier, I saw a fellow Soldier (who I soon learned was Eddie) packing all his belongings into his car. It looked as if he were leaving. I thought to myself, Why would anyone be packing up all his stuff? Since we were in the Army, it was not as though we could just go home whenever we wanted to. As I was watching him, I saw some other Soldiers going toward him. They started picking on him and making fun of him—pushing Eddie around and knocking some things out of his hands. Then they tripped him, and he landed in the dirt. Poor Eddie looked up, and I saw a terrible sadness in his eyes. My heart went out to him. I walked quickly over to him to see if I could help.
As I pulled him to his feet, he looked at me and said, “Thanks.” A big smile transformed his face then—one of those smiles that shows real gratitude. I helped him pick up his gear and asked where he was from. I was surprised to learn that he was from my home state and asked him why I had never seen him before. He told me he hadn’t been in the Army that long. As we talked, I helped him carry his belongings to his car. Normally, I would not have hung out with a boot private like him, but as it turned out, he was a pretty good guy. In fact, the more I got to know Eddie, the more I liked him. I invited him to hang out with me and some of my friends over the weekend.