How War Transforms A Person Essay

1083 Words5 Pages
“One day you are having lunch with some guys from another unit, trading stories about home and what you’re gonna do when you get back to the world. And then the next day they’re dead” writes Afghanistan veteran and retired US Army Corporal Eric Porter. He goes on to describe how war transforms a person, “Your view of the world changes, you have seen and done things no other person in the world would understand besides you and your fellow brothers at war” (Personal Communication, October 20, 2016). With great frequency, one encounters a veteran wearing a baseball cap that says “Vietnam Veteran”. A sullen, bearded face or a bright eyed warrior with wrinkles that tell friends’ death stories— each veteran must learn to process and cope with what he has seen. Violence destroys sanity in every war, but it is not the only culprit. Each major modern American conflict had its own calling card, an individual characteristic that in itself could cause nightmares, but when coupled with violence, irreversibly alters minds. In World War I, it was the trenches, an unsanitary formidable enemy of both sides. In World War II, it was the concentration camps, bastions for sub-human treatment of those a deranged leader viewed as inferior. In Vietnam, it was the jungle, and the various problems associated with guerilla warfare in such a diverse and unforgiving habitat. In his fictional piece The Things They Carried, Vietnam Veteran Tim O’brien uses stories to illustrate the realities of war.
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