After 20 months of fundraising, purchasing, and delivering critical supplies for frontline troops, Oleg stepped up for military service in December, 2023 and began sending in these creative works he calls, “War Through My Eyes.”
We’re in a hurry. Our car flies along the highway, the driver deftly avoiding potholes. One of us scrolls through the news on his phone, another watches a video of a night battle sent by our comrades from the other direction. Another seizes the moment to catch a few minutes of sleep.
Suddenly, the driver slows down.
“Is something wrong?” a soldier asks from the back seat.
“They’re driving one of our boys up ahead,” the driver answers hoarsely.
And indeed, a minibus moved slowly ahead, its signage indicating it was carrying the body of a dead soldier.
Out of respect, we drive slowly behind the minibus without passing. Behind us, other cars slow down, drivers and passengers paying homage to the hero. We trail the minibus with heavy hearts for about half an hour, until at last it turns toward the cemetery Civilians with flowers and wreaths and military personnel are assembled there to see our brother-in-arms off on his last journey.
Through the fence we see many flags–yellow and blue–fluttering in the wind. Every flag marks another dead soldier’s grave. Another lost life. Another wife without her husband. Another child without a father. Another mother without a son.
“Rest well, brother,” whispers the driver. “May light illuminate your path to heaven. We will carry on where you left us.”
If the word fits, use it.
When Marina Palenyy translated this piece from Oleg, she selected “brothers-in-arms” as the phrase for the Ukrainian word “побратими“ (pobratymy) and we had some back-and-forth about the right word or phrase to use. Was “brothers-in-arms” too antiquated or flowery? Was there an equivalent word in English? We finally turned to Oleg for a fuller description and context.
“Побратими are people who become brothers through a battle in which their blood has mingled through wounds,” he explained. “These are people who become closer than brothers. And it so happens that in our army there is the word побратими, a bond through blood, a bond through spirit.”
“Brothers-in-arms” it is.
– Charlotte Pierce, publisher
Drone-jammer to save lives
You can still donate for critical supplies for Oleg’s unit at email@example.com (PayPal). He is currently raising funds for a $16K enemy drone-jammer which will save lives at the front by disabling incoming attack drones. All funds go directly for this critical defensive equipment.
Author Oleg Veretskiy suspended his career to support his country’s fight for freedom. Thank you for helping us publish his magical coming-of-age tale!