I had to go back a couple of times and reread the post. I missed VN by a hairs breath, but have had many friends and acquaintances who went. For some reason, quite a few of them (late at night, just the two of us, possibly drinking one to many) would start telling me about what they saw and went through. I was alway uncomfortable being I had spent my life on this side of that wall. I understood war is way worse than anything I could imagine and it puts people in a place they rather not be, dealing things and feelings they never thought they have to.
All I could do was listen. I didn’t want to ask to many questions, being afraid of pushing them into areas that maybe they didn’t want to go.
So many times I felt they were asking me if what happened was the right thing to do. Some of the stories I was told were things I didn’t even want to deal with in a theoretical sense, let alone having to live with having it be an actual part of my life.
All I could do is listen, try to feel whatever pain they felt and tell them that the person I know now is a good person.
To those who have served, I have nothing but respect and gratitude. I can never forget what you sacrificed to keep me safe behind that wall so that I do not have to see the side of mankind that I would love to believe isn’t there, but know lies just beyond the idealistic palisade we have erected to convince us that we are now civilized.]]>