When you are young and Memorial Day rolls around, you are oblivious to what the extra day off of school and impromptu cookout means. However, the older you get, the more you understand the actual signification of the holiday, to remember and honor those who have fallen in war. It is quite hard to imagine what it would be like going through such a horrendous experience. Perhaps that’s why we are so captivated by war memoirs, because those powerful words are the closest most of us will ever come to being faced with such fear and terror.
Every military experience is different and each new war book helps us to understand that. Author and lecturer David McCullough paints a picture of The American Revolution in the much loved book 1776. Robert Leckie a young U.S. Marine fought in the Pacific during World War II and shares his harrowing experience in Helmet for My Pillow. Newly released title Matterhorn, a fictional debut by Karl Marlantes, follows the men of Bravo Company and is based on his real-life experience in Vietnam. And then there’s WAR by Sebastian Junger. This new critically acclaimed book details the Junger’s 14-month experience following a platoon in Afghanistan and aims to uncover the truths of war.
Will the average person ever really understand what it’s like to be dropped in a foreign land and told to fight for their life? The only real way to discover the truth is to experience it for yourself, and if not, read about it and honor the memory of those who so bravely fought for the country.