The unknown soldier


Her aunt gave her the photograph, not knowing who the man was. A World War I 2nd Lieutenant resplendent in his uniform, riding crop beneath his arm. An arrogant pose, the subject staring intently down the lens of the camera.

She took a picture of the photograph with her phone and showed it to her mother. “That looks like your Uncle John,” her mother exclaimed. But Uncle John was too young to have served in that War. So, the photograph of the unknown soldier was relegated to an album in her mother’s filing cabinet.

Instinct told her there was something more about that man in the photograph, something else to be discovered. She got out her phone and opened the picture, enlarging each portion of the image as she searched for clues.

And then she saw it. There was something unusual about the hand holding the crop. Three fingers were positioned awkwardly, shorter than the others. And one of the man’s eyes was a bit odd.

She phoned her mother. “Remember that photograph of the soldier that Auntie Joy gave me? There is something strange about his left hand. Didn’t you tell me that Dad’s father had a damaged hand?”

And so it was. Her grandmother had spoken with her mother about her grandfather’s childhood accident, his refusal to hide his damaged hand, and the unusual caste in his eye.

What mattered most was that the man in the photograph at last had a name and a family to remember him.

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