Friday, July 09, 2010

A Surreal Time

I was lying in bed reading earlier in the week as the fireworks for the Fourth of July started. Since I had to go to work the next morning I had not gone to watch them. The sounds came across town as that dull series of explosions that we come to recognize with these celebrations.

The oddity was that I was reading Sebastian Junger's latest book, War. He was talking about mortars and bombs and RPGs. He was describing the war in Afghanistan in painful, hypnotic detail. To which was added these sound effects from within my own range of experience. What would it be like to hear those sounds and know that they were life-threatening? To sit up alert and uncertain and go into some kind of automatic combat mode?

I have no idea, but Junger is doing an excellent job of letting me know. There were a few articles around last week about how some veterans have trouble with Fourth of July fireworks- they are too real. Perhaps it has always been true but only now are we allowing our veterans to be honest with themselves and us. Perhaps it is also the type of wars we have been fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In any case, I found myself being very grateful that I do not have to face that kind of situation here where I live.

No comments: