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This flash fiction piece, while not based on any real life event I’ve experienced, is all too real all too often. This is my tribute to our fallen heroes and their sacrifice.

fallen heroAll she’d done since the doorbell rang a week earlier was sob.

As she sat in the cemetery, the tears continued to fall. She didn’t even bother dabbing at them any longer.

The twenty-one-gun salute still echoed through the valley when they folded the flag into a perfect triangle and presented it to her. A lifetime. He’d promised her decades together, but all she would get was this pristine piece of cloth and this final memory. It wasn’t enough.

She didn’t even get to see his face one last time.

The bugle player lowered his instrument after just twenty-four notes—the most difficult twenty-four notes ever played or listened to. The priest offered one last blessing. It was almost over.

It would never be over.

The captain stood at attention, his baritone voice breaking as he made his final salute. “We have assumed the watch. You stand relieved.”

This story inspired by the WordPress daily prompt: Relieved.