When someone asks why I read military memoirs, I generally say that I’m a citizen and a taxpayer, and I want to know what’s being done in my name. But there’s another reason.
Memorial Day is when Americans plan to visit cemeteries, to honor the military veterans of our wars. But I ended up at my local cemetery recently, on the eve of Independence Day, standing at the grave of a 19 year old soldier who died eleven years ago. He was a neighbor. He went to high school with my son.
There are many ways to die in military service:
- Friendly fire
I don’t know exactly what happened to my young neighbor. He was an Army Private, at the bottom of the military hierarchy. He died in Tallil, Iraq. He worked in the Military Police and, according to his family, had been considered for officer training. I searched the local newspaper for further information.
I read in order to learn. I want to understand war. The Middle East is a conspicuously complex part of the world.