It was my view then, and still is, that you don't make war without knowing why. Knowledge of course, is always imperfect, but it seemed to me that when a nation goes to war it must have reasonable confidence in the justice and imperative of its cause. You can't fix your mistakes. Once people are dead, you can't make them undead.
First lieutenant jimmy cross carried letters from a girl named martha, a junior at mount sebastian college in new jersey. They were not love letters, but lieutenant cross was hoping, so he kept them folded in plastic at the bottom of his rusack. In the late afternoon, after a day's march, he would dig his foxhole, wash his hands under a canteen, unwrap the letters, hold them with the tips of his fingers, and spend the last hour of light pretending.
Linda was nine then, as i was, but we were in love...It had all the shadings and complexities of mature adult love and maybe more, because there were not yet words for it, and because it was not yet fixed to comparisons or chronologies or the ways by which adults measure such things...I just loved her. Even then, at nine years old, i wanted to live inside her body. I wanted to melt into her bones -- that kind of love.
Its a hard thing to explain to somebody who hasnt felt it, but the presence of death and danger has a way of bringing you fully awake. It makes things vivid. When youre afraid, really afraid, you see things you never saw before, you pay attention to the world. You make close friends. You become part of a tribe and you share the same blood- you give it together, you take it together.