The incessant pounding rattled his eardrums, never hinting at if or when it may cease. Back turned to face away from the explosions, covering his ears did little to dampen the shock wave he could feel creep up his back.

The first real blast he had heard was on the streets of Kabul, sending a shard of shrapnel into his right thigh, the very minimum to have him sent back.  The distance, however, would never be far enough to separate him from the memory.

Everyone around had dropped all sense of urgency, to stop and watch in awe of the spectacle.  He couldn’t bear to face the sight, let alone deal with the flashing penetrating his eyelids.

“Daddy, won’t you come watch the fireworks with us.”  The boy tugged at his sleeve.

“Come on, dear.”  The mother suddenly pulled the young child away.  “You know daddy doesn’t like loud noises.”

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