Private Witt

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Private Witt

The Thin Red Line

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About Him

Grew Up… in a loving family. But before the war, his mother died. He reminisces, “I remember my mother when she was dyin’, looked all shrunk up and gray. I asked her if she was afraid. She just shook her head. I was afraid to touch the death I seen in her. I couldn’t find nothin’ beautiful or uplifting about her goin’ back to God.”

Profession… U.S. Army Private, C Company, 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. After being picked up by a U.S. warship, Private Witt is punitively placed in a stretcher-bearing unit. Though his place around the medics and stretcher-bearers is nothing more than a punishment contrived by Sgt. Welsh, Witt is well suited to this role. His gentleness and intrinsic empathy for the needs and suffering of others makes Witt good at caring for the wounded and makes him popular in C company.

Living… with another soldier from C Company on an island amongst a community of native Melanesian peoples. Amidst the backdrop of WWII’s Pacific theater, this idyllic community is a far cry from where he’s come from and from where he’s going.

Interests… philosophy. He ponders the big questions. He wants to know about life and death, where we go when we die, and why nature contends with itself.

Challenge… discovering if his beliefs are warranted. Is there a higher purpose to serve other than protecting yourself and your property? Such are the central issues at stake in the conversations between Witt and Welsh, 1st Sergeant of C Company. Witt espouses the belief that there’s something more to all this mess than survival, while Sgt. Welsh believes that all a man can do is let nothing touch him. Witt’s challenge is to find, somewhere in all this madness, the part of death that is beautiful and uplifting. 

Personality… kind, caring, and full of wonder. Witt’s no push over. He can stick up for himself, but he isn’t overly sure about the important questions. He considers, contemplates, looks and listens, saying, “Maybe all men got one big soul everybody’s a part of, all faces are the same man.”

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