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Today is May 1, 1917. Word has just come to me that several local boys have been drafted to fight the war in Europe. This one is called "The Great War." It's been raging since August 1914. President Wilson asked the Congress for a declaration of war last month. He got it. Hundreds of thousands have died already. Now, many of our own good boys will die. War is a chronic condition, and stupid. I was that young when I first went off to war, fifty-seven years ago. I was twenty-one, about the same age as these kids. I had no idea that I was entering my own personal season in hell when I joined up with a New York volunteer regiment. These young men are about to march off to another war, another cause. Many will die uselessly on torn-up battlefields that nobody will remember except the men who fight there. I still see those faces in the distance, on a hillside at a place called Gettysburg. I see myself, young, but no longer a boy. My innocence was a façade. War is butchery, and I experienced it close-up. I was part of a monster, trained to overwhelm and destroy my enemy, my brother. By the end of the war, I was good at it. It fit me well. I was a seasoned veteran. Killing had become second nature. Experience being the best teacher, I learned well. In April 1865, I knew what I was. The question had become, what was I going to be? The thought once occurred to me that maybe I should not have survived the war, that war should devour its own and leave the remnant in peace.
Published: Xlibris on
ISBN: 9781483636498
List price: $3.99
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