Snyder stood in full dress uniform by the grave of Lieutenant Jim Ealgeclaw, outside of Flagstaff, Arizona.
The grave was as much a monument to Blackjack McGraw’s friendship. The Empire either left the executed to be eaten by birds or else threw the bodies into a bonfire.
The officer who presided over Eagleclaw’s execution reported that the body disappeared the evening after. Snyder stared at the report’s printout. The signature read, “Lieutenant Paul Dread.”
Snyder crumpled the paper in his hands. He stood before the grave. He chose this over a visit to Mama Borden with his two day leave, and now that he was here, what was he supposed to say or do?
He read the epithet. “Fearless warrior, loyal friend, and courageous patriot.” He smiled at McGraw’s irony in calling a man executed for treason a patriot.
That’s the Years of the Empire for you. The patriots are called traitors and the traitors are hailed as heroes.
Snyder turned to walk away, but spun around. “You know, I think, we could have been family. You wouldn’t have cared that I’m white. Would you?”
A tear trickled down his cheek. Snyder tried to hold it in. “Ah, heck, no one here even knows me.”
With that, he fell to his knees and wept.
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