Rest in Peace (Memorial Day Tribute)

A bullet was discharged from somewhere in the smoky night. A bullet was fired to do what it was built for- to kill. A straight shot launched by the attackers. February 1918. Chateau-Thierry, France. The rainbow battalion is being attacked. Soldiers are retreating. English, German and French languages are echoing in the cold French night.

Confused soldiers are running in many directions. The non-stop noises of guns being shot and screams of war and agony of men were merging to one loud sound--War.

Choirs of machine guns were tuned unevenly making a morbid symphony. The bullet passed miraculously avoiding many soldiers. It probably didn’t have a specific target, but what is certain is that it did hit one soldier. The bullet perforated a soldier’s head pushing him violently against the filthy grass. The soldier died instantly. His dark blood splashed all around.

Private Bush was next to him. He saw it happening. He saw a fellow man die. He saw a human brain exploded in front of him, but he didn’t have time to react to it. His gun didn’t stop shooting.

His machine gun kept discharging bullets to an uncertain direction. The smoke of gunpowder covered the air creating a thick fog of dead. It was almost impossible to see from what direction the enemy was coming.

Private Bush saw soldier after soldier fall next to him and still no sign of what direction the deadly bullets were coming from. He was confused, lost, terrified, and tired but he kept going forward, running to the dark, until he tripped on a cadaver and fell to the ground.

He closed his eyes and enjoyed the seconds of a break that the involuntary fall gave him. The ground didn’t feel hard. He fell over another dead body. He opened his eyes and saw a dead man’s face staring at him.

He wished he weren’t there. He wished he were at home, the windy farm in Rigby, Idaho, where he grew up. He remembered the mountains and the fresh breeze that made the birds stay steady in the air. He remembered the silence.

Private Charles M. Bush was born in a quiet farm in Pleasant Grove, Utah. While still in his childhood his family was called to be part of the colonization of eastern Idaho.

It wasn’t the first time that the Bushes were asked to relocate. Charles’ dad, William James Bush, migrated from Glochestershire, England, answering the call to all the new members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the world to congregate in Zion. He moved to Nauvoo, Illinois where he met his young wife, Charles’ Mother, Angeline Adeline Luddington Bush.

Escaping from the persecution against Mormons in the Midwest, the Bush family migrated to the West, joining approximately 70,000 people who the crossed the United States until reaching the Salt Lake.

The new Bush farm was located in Rigby, Idaho. A small windy town located in a fertile but harsh valley. For Charles, the farm life was a pleasantly routine.

A sudden explosion on the horizon revealed what seemed to be a mountain. He didn’t realize he was close to one. He stood up and kept running toward the noise while shooting his gun and yelling bravely and fearfully.

When he enlisted to go to war he didn’t really know what the word “War” meant. He heard about a conflict in the old Continent that required brave young men to go beyond their borders to defend peace.

He enlisted in the 42nd Infantry Division, later known as "The Rainbow Division". The Division recruited volunteers from most U.S. states. Many of the new cadets along with Charles were experiencing a lot of “firsts”: leaving home for the first time; seeing a big city, i.e., New York, for the first time; seeing the ocean for the first time; traveling on a ship for the first time; seeing Europe for the first time

Since he’d left home, everything was filled with confusion. Everything was too new. Everything was happening too fast.

It was happening too fast.

After the war, Private Bush learned that he fought in one of the most memorable and deadly battles in the history of the world, yet Bush wanted to forget it. He returned home and vague memories of what peace meant came back to him.

Charles M. Bush lived his entire life trying to find the peace he lost in his youth, when he discovered the meaning of war, and found it at last on February 6, 1951, at the age of 63.

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