Donald Mang: One Nation Under God
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One Nation Under God:
Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory of the Coming . . .

  “As he gazed up at the black night sky sprinkled with bright little stars, visions of the battlefield unfolded in his mind. He could vividly see the whole battlefield as a huge quilt—a patchwork of blue and gray fabric—stitched together with the common thread of misery, pain, and death. It blanketed the tall wheat with bodies pressing it down. Some lay still—others writhing in pain. He imagined the unknown farmer who had planted the wheat, plowing his field in this little obscure acre on a warm spring day, gentle breeze rustling through the trees. The farmer would have expected a harvest of wheat, he thought to himself. Instead, his wheat field became a harvest of death. The grim reaper had swung his giant scythe and cut down the very lifeblood of American youth—that same youth whose blood was now drowning the very wheat grown to sustain life.” (Page 200)  
  “His first impulse was to run to the big house to see if they were all safe. He opened the door to leave. It was already dark. He could hear the loud, popping sounds of musket fire. Looking toward the distant noise, the flashes from the igniting powder reminded him of fireflies. The night sky frequently lit up with great streaks of lightning that created an eerie symphonic cadence when combined with the sporadic musketry ‘fireflies’ that provided a secondary rhythm of light to Mother Nature’s grand display in the heavenly center stage.” (Page 101)  
  “She sat down, glancing over at Patrick, her sparkling blue eyes meeting his for a brief moment. It was a soft look, a hard-to-describe I want to get to know you better look, a look of invitation. Pat caught himself gazing into her eyes, but glanced away as he felt he should. After all, didn’t he recently profess his unwavering love in his own handwriting to Beth? He was determined not to look into her eyes again. He would look elsewhere as he talked to her—maybe her hair or over her shoulder. Instead, he found himself staring at her lips. This was a mistake.” (Page 33)  
  “After a few speeches from the Mayor and Colonel Johnson, orders to prepare to march were shouted down the chain of command. The new crimson Confederate flag was unfurled, and the drums began their marching cadence. Joshua presented a striking figure, dressed in his new, butternut gray uniform, astride his strong, black steed. Jenny, always shy in a crowd, stood behind her father’s storefront window, waving a small handkerchief. Joshua had been unable to have one last meeting with her. He tipped his hat and smiled at her as he rode by the window. His first kiss had been his last before leaving. It had awakened his heart to a new dimension. Why had her love for him bloomed just at that time? If only they had had more time together. These were his thoughts as he waved farewell to his pretty young Jenny.” (Page 192)  
  “As the day wore on, the torrential rains drenched both blue and gray alike. Men fell in droves into the muddy quagmire, mortally wounded, only to be trampled down by more soldiers replacing them. The ghastly screams and moans of the wounded were drowned out by the din of battle, as they began to sink deeper into the sludge until they became like human mortar piled on top of each other, laying the foundation of freedom for generations to come. Small rivulets of blood began to course their way through the soggy mud, and soon the crimson liquid flowing from Yank and Reb alike co-mingled into channels of the lifeblood of American youth.” (Page 297)  
  “Nathan lay back on the bed, staring at the ceiling, blackened by years of burning logs, and let out a sigh. ‘Ah knows Lincum’s sogers comin’ soon—ya knows how ya’ll kin smells de fall comin’ in dem late summer breezes, or ya kin smells de water when ya comes close ta de creek, even befo’ ya sees it? Well, ah kin smells freedom comin’ an’ ah kin almos’ hear thousan’s of dem sogers trampin down dis way. Ev’ry night, dem footsteps gits louder—sometimes dey gits so loud, ah cain’t even hears dem crickets chirpin’ in de woods. Ya see, honey chile, dem babies, God willin’—deys nebber gonna calls no one Massa, ’cept mebbe de good Lawd hisself.’” (Page 100)  
  “He looked on in awe as his Southern brothers took up their positions for battle as calmly and deliberately as if on parade. As each regiment fell into formation, another young drummer boy set the pace as he marched alongside the men in arms. In a very short time, dozens of drums rumbled their steady beat across the open plain, like rolling thunder announcing the foreboding storm that was about to strike.” (Page 222)  
  “It was as if a great tornado had touched down and swept all of the young men up into a whirlwind—a whirlwind that would bring death and destruction and leave that small town as silent as a graveyard—except for the bell high up in the church steeple. It tolled many times in the next four years, each time announcing the death of another fallen son from Perch, Virginia at the mouth of the Peddler River.” (Page 192)