We Were Soldiers By Argenteus Draco

Part Six

When you get the chance to sit it out

I hope you dance I hope you dance.

Our regiment in the war was quite small. Just fifty or so in all, and while that may seem like a lot, it really wasn't, not compared to the regiments of a hundred or more my brothers fought in.

We were the Witches Relief Force, a group of young girls just out of school who entered the war just when things were starting to look really bad for the Light Side. It wasn't all glory and saving the day though, not nearly. Women hadn't been included in the initial draft as the men had, and before us, none had volunteered. We were laughed at, and sent home at first. "We need warriors," they said, "Not women. If you want to help, work in the hospitals."

Some of our number did stop there; most didn't. We came back to the volunteer station day after day. We had our family members already in the army speak to commanders about letting us in. We proved our worth and loyalty by turning in several Death Eaters caught where the army couldn't go in strength. And, finally, about a month after the first visit, they let us in.

We were told by almost everyone that we wouldn't make it; that war wasn't fit for women. Some of us didn't, but not everyone made it in the men's regiments either. It isn't that one gender isn't fit for war; some people are just less well suited than others.

We were a small part of the big army, but we were there through everything. I was there when the Light Side won its first major battle, and we helped bring down Death Eaters in that battle. The group was in the field when the Dark Side attacked at the river and was forced back, taking as many casualties as we had in the whole war so far. We were there, in the field and the hospitals, when the final battle took place. And we sat by the sides of the wounded and dying, offering what little comfort we could, just as they would have done for us.

Someone in my brother Ron's regiment said we were like a family; we looked out for one another, we helped each other when we were in need, and we stayed together through the end. And in that sense we were. However, I haven't spoken to several of my comrades for months now. Many of the people I fought alongside were people I had only known by face before. We came from every aspect of life: muggle-born, pureblood, half-blood; we had people from all four Hogwarts houses and a few who hadn't even attended Hogwarts. We had never been friends before then, and yet we were able to work together to help win the war.

By the end of the war I knew everyone in the army as personally as if they were related to me. And I realized there were two very different kinds of people in the group: those who would get up and dance, and those who sat there and took orders. We were in the group that danced. We fought for our right to fight, and we won. We were out there; we proved we were just as strong as the men, physically and mentally.

We were soldiers.