11 March 2003, 2300 hours
I believed that this war was never going to happen. I know now I was mistaken. But when you believe in a dream for so long, it is so convenient to keep that dream alive. After all, we must believe in something.
This was more or less Jake Horwood’s position. For the march through Baghdad would begin at dawn, and there was nothing anyone could do to stop it. Jake wrote with all his heart, under the dim canister light in the large tentage. All around him, his comrades lay asleep, dreaming dreams Jake thought only he could put to paper. This way, he thought, Jake committed all his dreams, and everything about himself, to memory.
Everyone else is asleep right now, but I feel more alive than ever. Maybe it is only when you are confronted with death that you most feel alive. I feel it now, pulsing through my veins. My dirt-tinged arms are full of it. Right now, at this moment, I know I am living.
As Jake poured his life onto the page, hesitantly at first, then more freely, he realised that he was no different from his late grandfather, who, in the 40s, had fought in the war against Japan. Jake could still remember his grandfather’s skin, like wrinkled leather, unlike Jake’s smooth skin. Jake never knew much about his grandfather. What he did was told by his father, who himself was a pilot. “Your Grandpa,