All about war

7 Aug

One of the things I love best about my husband is that he was a Marine. I am so proud of the determination and courage (and strength!) he had to have to go through that. But also it is something about him that remains a mystery to me — in a good way. There are things about him I might never know and that’s exciting. It was a seriously defining period of time for him that I can only hope to understand. I love hearing stories about it, and whenever I do, I am also so thankful that he came home alive and subsequently found me. He used to tell me that if he hadn’t met me, he would have kept going out to find wars to fight in, in the military or as a private citizen. It is a difficult concept for someone to understand who has a hard time holding a gun without getting scared. Some people just like war. Some for the destruction, and some to protect.

I’ve recently been reading about different wars. Fiction and non-fiction about WWII and the Civil War. It’s taking me a while to finish the collection of essays on the Civil War, even though they are fascinating. The author, McPherson, is a Princetonian professor who likes dispelling myths that have been gathering steam for the last 150 years. Like that Grant was an alcoholic. Or that Jesse James was a Robin Hood figure. Or that Europe really cared about slavery from the beginning and that’s why they didn’t help out the Confederates.

I find war — and history — very fascinating. Contemporary war is very different than it used to be. I know of some popular myths I could dispel with my husband’s first hand knowledge. He was there. He saw 9/11 like the rest of us, and had friends living in NYC. He joined up, and he went over there. So many people who talk about the military don’t actually know what it’s like to be a part of it. And that’s partly because people in the military don’t like to talk about it in public. They rightly think that many people will not actually hear what they have to say, so what’s the point? I think it has been this way since the Vietnam War. When I took a history class on the subject in college, I interviewed two of my dad’s friends who were in the war. We talked for an hour and a half. When we got done, they told me that was the most they had ever talked about it since they got back. How could that powerful fact not move me forever?

Somehow I’ve always been drawn to people in the military. In high school some of my best friends — and crushes, let’s be honest — were in the ROTC. Then I married a Marine. War is a very integral part of our history as well as our current climate. I’m not ever sure we will have peace on earth, though I’m not really positive why that is. I was talking to my brother recently who lives in Europe. He says he will never move back because it is so violent in the US. I mentioned this to David, asking him what he thought about that. Of course there are the debates about gun ownership, etc, but our overall violence rates are higher than Europe anyway. He suggested that our country was founded by aggressive people, who came over here and had to fight for their freedom. Maybe the love of the battle is simply in our blood. Either way, it is never ending fodder for discussion and examination.

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