REQUIEM AT THE LATRINE

When a latrine had served its purpose, the policy of the army was to spread lime over the body waste, fill the plot with dirt, and erect a sign that was shaped like a cross with the horizontal bar inscribed with the following label, "OLD LATRINE (DATE)."

I was awakened one morning by my corporal "Bill!" he said, "Come on out, you will not believe what is happening." We proceeded to the latrine area and at the site of a recently closed latrine, I sighted a little old lady dressed in black. She had deposited a cluster of flowers at the base of the inscribed cross bearing the latrine sign and was kneeled down in prayer. I could not bear to tell her the truth; however, I did approach her and in a somber voice, I thanked her for her kindness and consideration for what she surmised was the grave of a departed soldier.

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