I had an English assignment for my schoolwork to write a 500 word essay about an odyssey in my life time, a book report on one of two short stories, or about the topic I chose. I chose to write about "Why do wars start and how does it effect those involved? In conclusion, describe your own personal preference in viewing or listening to fiction or drama." I got an 80% on the essay, but I was pretty proud of it anyways so I figured I would post it here. But honestly, I hate book reports and I'm not sure what an odyssey is so that's why I picked this topic. At least I posted before I even said I would!
I come from a military family. From the top of my head, I can name one great-grandfather, three grandfathers, three uncles, two aunts, a cousin, and my father who were all in the military at some point in time. Most of them have been in one war or another. I suppose that's why my heart doesn't truly understand why wars have to happen, even if I understand the logical side.
All wars do have a reason though. Usually, it's because one country doesn't agree with the way another country is being run. The countries bicker and then they break out the guns. The body count grows, the ground is stained with blood, and tears for the lost and the dead are shed by billions. No matter the reason behind it, good or bad, it always hurts those involved. Somebody always gets a hero's burial, provided they can find the body.
The Vietnam War, in specific, started because South Vietnam and North Vietnam were fighting over whether the country should be communist or not. My grandfather fought in that war because America took North Vietnam's side while China was defending South Vietnam. It is a lucky and an amazing thing, that another World War wasn't started because extra countries jumped in as allies. The war ended almost four decades ago but my grandfather has never recovered, so I find it hard to believe most veterans truly have.
It's not something that he likes to talk about. The few times anyone has gotten him to speak, he's had whiskey in one hand and a dark look on his face. I can't even imagine all the things that he and his comrades must have seen on the battlefield. Children killed, friends killed, maybe even himself in his nightmares. The war ended in 1975, but he was one of the men sent on the ground to search for snake pits. He's even scared of worms now, in fear they're small snakes in disguise. I used to garden with him as a little girl and he made sure, above all else, I never touched a worm, just in case.
I think the worst part about the fact that he was involved in a war that didn't even affect his home country, is that he lost that fight. South Vietnam eventually won and so did communism. Millions of people lost their lives, figuratively and literally. After all, when you're off in another country fighting a war, time doesn't stay still in your own home. Not to mention the psychological damage or the financial resources that were used during that time.
Knowing what I do about wars has a strong impact on who I am. I loathe violence, whether I'm reading about it or watching it. I'm the type of person who wants to be surrounded in happy or silly things, like Disney movies or stuffed animals. I suppose part of me just wants to hold onto that innocence of not knowing why worms should never be touched, just in case.