Narrative; Captain America Who: Steve Rogers What: In light of what has happened, Steve looks back on one of the most trying holiday seasons he ever faced. When: Christmas Morning Where: New York City Rooftop
He'd never forget the Christmas of 1944. It was really difficult to forget anything about that year, but the holiday season in particular was wedged in his mind. It had been his first away from friends, family, from Gail. It had also been his first holiday away from New York City, his home. The epic war of good versus evil had manifested in the form of the Axis versus the Allies.
The conflict that had driven a frail New York artist to join the United Stated Army, only to be rejected due to his poor physique, and ultimately gave birth to the super soldier himself. It wasn't until that Christmas had arrived on foreign soil that Rogers realized that no amount of serum could ever relieve the deep sense of depression he and his comrades felt from being so far from home. It was especially hard Christmas morning, Captain America and a unit of paratroopers had been making their push toward Antwerp. It was morning, just before they were scheduled to make their push into the outskirts of the city where heavy Nazi resistance was expected. As invigorating and comforting as the super soldier's presence was amongst the troops, there was still only so much the sentinel of liberty could do to raise these men's spirits.
They'd all seen things that would change them forever, and after the failure of Operation Market Garden, nearly all of them could claim to have lost numerous close friends and brothers-in-arms. He felt it too, but remembering his role in this entire conflict, not just as a weapon against the Nazis, but as a beacon of inspiration and hope for the allies, he opted to remind the men of the reason they were spending the most important of holidays surrounded by carnage, chaos, and death. " So that they won't have to, " he told them. He asked every man to think of their families, what they did for Christmas every year, and to remember that the blood, sweat, and tears they all gave on a daily basis was to ensure that those traditions would continue regardless of if they returned or not. They were keeping America's spirit alive, and though that was a fact they all must have reminded themselves every morning and evening, hearing it from him seemed to ease their heartaches long enough for them to get their minds set for battle.
They all fought valiantly, but as every soul wearing the uniform knew before the battle began, many of them fell and others incurred horrible injuries. When the smoke cleared, Captain America surveyed the damage and loss of human life. For them, for our families, for our country he reminded himself. The blood and pain was the cost, and he and his fellow soldiers paid it gladly and would continue to do so if it meant that those back home could enjoy another holiday the following year. Now it was not Captain America that recalled that day, but Steve Rogers.
He remembered the blood shed, the sacrifice, and the strength and personal courage every man found within himself to fight humanity's bloodiest conflict. From the rooftop of a building, Steve surveyed the damage again. There was no blood, no bodies, no visible destruction, but the damage was still evident. Like man, the city had a spirit, and Steve could see how torn it was. He'd seen this so many times before, each village that had been raped, pillaged, and torn asunder by tyrannical forces in Europe.
Now he saw it in the city he called home. Magneto's occupation of not only his hometown, but the entire nation. Steve's eyes watered, tears born of rage, pain, and most of all, shame. He'd lied to those men at Antwerp, he'd let them down. Most if not all of them were dead either from war, or old age, and now the homes they'd fought to protect were being turned upside down by a madman.
This was a Christmas that American families would not be able to celebrate without fear, and for that Steve would allow the blame to lie on his shoulders. He wouldn't bury himself in guilt for long, no. He would do whatever it took to assure this stopped and never happened again.