Influences of War
The Vietnam War had different effects on many people. It affected people at home and obviously greatly affected those who were fighting in Vietnam. An excerpt from Everything We Had by Al Santoli and Beginning and Arrival, excerpts from If I Die in a Combat Zone: Box Me Up and Send Me Home by Tim O’Brien, are memoirs that explore the effects and influences of war on two young men. Tim O’Brien wrote about his own experiences in the war, and in the piece of work by Santoli, he tells about the events of a soldier named Robert Santos. These men are quickly shaped and molded by the war and the people there. Because of their youthfulness and lack of experience or knowledge of war, Santos and O’Brien had no idea how to be soldiers or what to do in war. O’Brien wrote, “I had neither the expertise nor the wisdom to synthesize answers; most of the facts were clouded.” O’Brien had no shame in admitting that he was not knowledgeable about the war, and that he made his decision to go to the war merely on not having a reason not to. Santos confesses that he did not know anything. At first he simply followed everything he had learned in training even if it was not the best solution to the situation at hand. He was transformed from a naive “wait-a-minute lieutenant” to a battle-hardened, fatherly, and knowledgeable military officer. War caused this evolution of Santos, but it also caused him to grow in wisdom and experience. He explained that he learned many things about himself that he never would have discovered otherwise. There were also mixed views from experienced soldiers and others that O’Brien came in contact with one in Vietnam. Two sergeants reassured him in different ways. One told O’Brien that as long as he stuck with him, he would be okay. Other soldiers seemed to be relaxed and have a casual attitude toward the explosions that happen in the middle of the night one night, and this made O’Brien feel as if he did not need to worry. However,...
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