They say that old soldiers never die, they just fade away. Yet with reverence, I must pay homage to one such warrior.
He once stood proud, ready to enter into an arena of conflict. In victory he once stood tall and raised high his banner. Time and again he answered the call to arms. Time and again he was hailed after his victories as the conquering hero.
The rules of engagement changed from battlefield to battlefield, from enemy to enemy. Whether in negotiations for peace, or under fire, once he'd slipped in through the defenses, his skills in close quarters combat was evident and served him well.
Glistening from battle, he'd stood proud before the bodies of his combatants. Often he'd faced the challenge from the vanquished to do battle again. They would lock horns with a renewed vigor, their parries and thrusts respected by the other.
To this day he will take up arms if he is called upon, ready to enter into combat. The thrill of the battle, and the uncertainty of the outcome fuel a common respect and admiration, one foe for the other. The challenges however, are not as forthcoming as once they were. The arenas of combat are more familiar now, and not some distant unnamed place.
No, this soldier has not faded away. Though his head isn't raised as high, his drive and his resolve are as strong and as determined as they have always been. He yearns for the excitement of a confrontation. He misses the strategy before the battle. He misses the endgame. He craves that driving force from cover onto a new battlefield. Although the faces of the combatants today are younger and their bodies are sleeker and stronger, he is aware that either might come out on top.
This soldier has not faded away. Where once he stood proud, his eye to the skies, now he looks only ahead when he marches into battle. He is symbolic of the classic soldier. Though the helmet hangs still, his battle gear is primed, for he can still answer the call to arms when he is needed. He is aging, a victim of time. He is an ember, yet glowing and alive.
I salute you, oh gallant warrior. You have not faded away, but rest in repose until the next glorious battle.