Born to live and die in the Devil’s own Hell, I was spawned in the fire and smoke of a Birmingham metal foundry. My mission in life was to deliver death and destruction to places hostile toward the United States of America. I am naval firepower!
Specifically, I am a spent shell casing fired from a five-inch gun on board a US Navy ship. Can’t tell you which ship. That’s classified! What I can tell you is that I was loaded into my gun and fired, launching my explosive ordinance across the ocean. The gun exploded with a thunderous boom, and rattled the entirety of the 400-foot long ship. My accuracy is deadly, and my projectile hit its mark. Having done my duty, I was ejected from the gun and cast aside. Used up.
I was certainly destined to repeat this cycle over and over into eternity. Or at least until bombs like me are no longer needed, but I was scooped up by an industrious young sailor and shunted onto another track. With a little bit of polish and elbow grease, and a reproduction business end, I would become a ceremonial piece of naval tradition.
Upon officially coming aboard a naval ship or station, high-ranking officers or dignitaries will cross the quarterdeck. This area is often flanked by rows of shiny brass bombs like me. Four on each side, with pristine ropes with fancy knots connecting them. It’s an honor and a privilege to walk through this ceremonial area. And to serve here.
Somehow, I was sidetracked and never got the spit and polish routine. Maybe I was next in line when they decided not to make any more of us. I don’t know. I do know I spent many years in a dark place, all alone, far from the ocean.
One day I was taken to a warm place, full of other items from far off places. A museum? No. It’s an antique shop! I don’t know how old I am, but as a curiosity I certainly fit in well here. I enjoy the warmth again. But I like being peacefully used even better.
That’s part of my story. What’s yours?