As A Final Thought

As A Final Thought
Written on the flight returning from a combat tour in Vietnam

Is it truly ever possible for a man to explain exactly what runs through him when literally faced with a “kill or be killed” situation? Can that sudden burst of emotion ever be put accurately into words?

Prior to my own experience I had been told a lot of the stories by an awful lot of men who had been through it already and I actually thought that I was prepared emotionally to make it through “the test” without going through the awfully devastating embarrassment of a full “breakdown”. I HAD been… almost!

You’ve heard almost all of the stories I suppose. Some will try to boost their egos by saying that there IS no emotion… and that an “intelligent man” can accept the situation and make the only logical choice… avoiding “emotional interference”. Some will try to exploit their “bravery” by saying that the only emotion is anger… that “brave men” feel no fear… only anger for those who have died in battle before him and an inner drive to destroy “the bad guys” and once more make the world safe for “Mom and apple pie”.

Most will talk of that “inner glow” that happens when they’ve rid the world of one of its many potential threats and that they’ve done well in God’s eyes. Then there ARE the minorities who will admit to confusion, fear, disgust, relief, self-pity, and any of the other “undesirable” reactions.

I’d been prepared for anything I thought… for ANY of those… but I had NEVER anticipated the tremendous surge of them all together! I will NEVER be able to explain how I felt… and with God as my witness… I’ll never subject myself to it again as long as I live.

I would much rather welcome death.


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