As a guy who writes, reads and enjoys historic fiction novels I commonly read magazines that target different historic events. I was reading a current copy of one that targets the Viet Nam War. The cover story is an interesting event about a group of surrounded and outgunned soldiers.
Being a curious guy I picked it up, and realized that the cover story was indeed about an event in the war that was worth a cover story. When I started reading I became frightened. The first two to three pages were dates, locations, distances, unit numbers, and of course the obligatory facts and figures about armaments.
I kept thinking to myself, wow this is really getting painful, and should have been done in power point, not in paragraph form. Then, I continued to read. It did get better. It put me in the middle of the battle. I was right alongside the men as tracers filled the sky and trees exploded from RPG hits.
The article touched on something that I don’t see often enough.
When the concept of War or battles comes up there is a part of the population that likes to glorify these things, and there is a good reason to do so, to a certain limit.
In a modern sense, there are also those who are very quick to claim we should “send troops,” or “put boots on the ground,” whenever a world event happens.
As a military veteran, I always roll my eyes when I hear this. Typically, it comes from someone who hasn’t served, hasn’t been overseas, and whose involvement with the military involves sharing pictures of flags on their social media pages.
The article touches, specifically and well, on the fact that when soldiers see things that happen on the battle field it sticks with them forever. It is not normal to see someone blown to pieces before your eyes. It is not a normal behavior to throw rounds down range and kill people. These are things then men and women do, but it isn’t something we should rush into. It sticks with them an impacts the rest of their lives.
We should honor veterans for their sacrifices, we should thank them, and we should ensure that far fewer people ever must see combat.
Several of my books (click books at the top of this page) are about different military actions (some historic fiction, some pure fiction), but I try to give combat as it is, not as it is typically glorified to be. Thankfully multiple combat vets have left reviews that said, “you got it right.”
For that, thank you, and to our combat vets for their service, and sacrifice, thank you. I hope we are in a position to have fewer combat veterans in the future.