The squad moves northwest, toward the square and the mayor’s house, following the rough stone path between the walled-off nuns’ house and the raised churchyard cemetery. Trailing, their sergeant has turned, not to look at the camera but where they’ve been, wary of ambush, not wanting a Purple Heart and white cross for any of them, not after all these days and miles since the beach.
Ten years from now, there’ll be a celebration in the crossroad beyond the square, commemorating liberation. Boys not born yet, too young to think of shaving, still with high voices in the choir Sunday morning, will don uniforms and carry arms to replicate these soldiers. It will be a bittersweet afternoon, with older brothers already gone to fight the next war, too many buried far away, laid to rest by people who in time will mark the anniversary of the victory young strangers purchased.