Your first war is filled with things you’ve never done, never seen, never heard, never smelled. It’s a different continent, and everyone who goes there feels like the first white man in the Congo. It’s the world after you fuck your first girl; you were a virgin, and now you’re not. That first morning after you’re not sure what’s changed, but there is something fundamentally different, even if it’s not visible and no one else can see it. You know something has changed.
Some think war is an experience – something bad that happens to you like a father that slapped you around too much but then you grow up and move on. War isn’t a time period in life, it’s the end of your old life and the beginning of life after, BC turns to AD and you never really move on, it’s with you for always. That old life ends the first time you’re shot at, that first time you hear the snap of a bullet pass by and look around in bewilderment and indignation, thinking, why is that guy trying to kill me? Why would he want to do that, I never did anything to him! Did that really just happen? And then more bullets come. Panic starts to set in, shutting down your thoughts. The panic is suppressed by the fear. And the fear is overcome by training, when you revert to a mental subroutine that lets you function in situations you’ve never experienced before.
I discovered war consists of essentially two emotions, boredom and fear and not necessarily in that order. Sometimes they overlap and intertwine.
warmemoir on April 13th – The Re… Jeannine Cherry on April 13th – The Re… Drew on Reflections, Ten Years On Randy on April 13th – The Re… Sam Moyer on April 13th – The Re…