by Martin Jones
In the graveyard of empires, experiences varied wildly – the year, the unit, the province, the problem, the strategy, and the mission. Exposure was limited for some, extensive for others, and many fell in between. Your experience may have been deeply intimate or alarmingly impersonal. Across the spectrum of possibilities and proven throughout time, altruism remains: if you touch war, it will touch you back.
How to put a finger on the emotional reaction to recent events? How to characterize the anger, frustration, disbelief, or acceptance (essentially the stages of grief) that an entire generation is feeling right now?
Let’s say that an authentic experience (not necessarily traumatic, but could be) demands a price. The cost of war and the price of war are two very different things. That price required to participate, the ticket to get on the ride, if you will – is a piece of you. It’s a piece of who you once were, resulting in a new version of you that doesn’t necessarily have to be better or worse but will surely be different.
If we assume this to be true, then accept that all those little pieces of us left behind make up one massive grave, equivalent to the total sum of the collective American consciousness during the conflict.
How would you feel if someone toppled your tombstone and ransacked the grave of what was once you?
This first appeared in The Havok Journal on August 19, 2021.
As the Voice of the Veteran Community, The Havok Journal seeks to publish a variety of perspectives on a number of sensitive subjects. Unless specifically noted otherwise, nothing we publish is an official point of view of The Havok Journal or any part of the U.S. government.