True War Story: Is There Such a Thing?
If you make two completely different people go the same scenario at the same time, chances are that ty will experience it differently. It all depends on their perspective and their take on the situation they are put in, how they see it is their truth. I think that is why a true war story is impossible to write, all involved don’t share the same point of view. What one solider goes through is not the same thing experienced by the solider marching next to him. And even then, every person fights for a different purpose even if they have the same general goal of winning the war.
In the story “The Things They Carried” one of the first things I noticed was how differently each man felt about their position in the war through what they had with them. “Mitchell Sanders carried a set of starched tiger fatigues for special occasions. Henry Dobbins carried Black Flag insecticide. Dave Jensen carried empty sandbags that could be filled at night for added protection. Lee Strunk carried tanning lotion (O’Brien)”. As the author lists the items each of the soldiers carry, it becomes more evident what each of them finds vital to survive in the environment are in. and though some items are the same, such as weapons and gear, most are things unique to each man.
While each of them men are there to essentially help win the war, each of them has a personal reason for fighting. One to serve his country. Some to honor their mothers and fathers, or to carry on with a legacy. Some perhaps fight for their family, with the hope of making it back to their wives or children when the nightmare is all over. Perhaps some fight with the hope that their effort will help bring about a new tomorrow, a one without fear or war, simply a better one.
Moreover, a war isn’t just based on the point of view of one solider, or on the entire team for that matter. There are many more factors to consider. What about the opposing side, the one you fight against? Do they, perhaps, have a different perspective on why they are fighting this war? Are they even fighting at their own free will, or are you just fighting against innocents who never had any business being in a warzone to begin with? There are many possibilities to consider, all of which change the story a little more.Not only that but every person’s brain handles stressful situations in the manner best fit for their necessities. According to the online article “Suppressed Traumatic Memories”, it is a fairly common thing for humans to simply suppress memories of traumatic experiences in order to survive. And it is not something you decide, as if you could talk to your brain and tell it what memories you wish to keep and which ones you need gone. This can alter a person’s experience and point of view in a situation, there for if a solider suffering from memory suppression writer a story of that time, it would be drastically different that the person who marched next to them and isn’t suppressing his/her memories.
In “The Things They Carrie”, Lavender’s death was a traumatic sight, and though it didn’t cause his fellow soldiers to repress memories, it left a certain emotional scar on all of them, some deeper and more painful than others. How close they were to him is directly related to how much it affected them when his was taken. That loss, as its severity differs for all how were around him, causes a shift in their experience of the war. Some feel a deep, all-changing lose that guilts them into shifting third focused and it may not affect some at all.
O’Brien, Tim. THE THINGS THEY CARRIED – Cengage. Vintage Books, 1994, www.cengage.com/custom/static_content/OLC/s76656_76218lf/obrien.pdf.
Suppressed Traumatic Memories. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://veteransfamiliesunited.org/suppressed-traumatic-memories/