The Sandbox

GWOT hot wash, straight from the wire

Welcome to The Sandbox, a forum for service members who have served or are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, returned vets, spouses and caregivers. The Sandbox's focus is not on policy and partisanship (go to our Blowback page for that), but on the unclassified details of deployment -- the everyday, the extraordinary, the wonderful, the messed-up, the absurd. All correspondence is read, and as much as possible is posted, lightly edited. If you know someone who is deployed who might have something to say, please tell them about us. To submit a post click here.

SUMMER READING |

April 19, 2011

 Name: Zachary Scott-Singley
Returned from
: Iraq
Milblog: A Soldier's Thoughts (about Iraq) and Nevadog (about life as a single father)


I recently found out that my blog has been assigned reading for junior in high school English homework. I was asked the following question by a student in an email:

What do you feel is the driving emotion behind the blog entries and why? I felt that you felt guilty for killing so many people and devastating their families, while also feeling guilty for leaving yours at home. But truly I would like to know what was your driving emotion behind these blogs.

I took a bit of time and reflected on why I did write so much, and thought I would share my response:

Hello XXXXXX,

I am glad that you found my writing interesting. It is an odd feeling to have your experiences and writing read as summer homework, but I am honored all the same. As to your question regarding the driving emotion behind my blog entries...

You mentioned guilt for the death I have caused. I suppose that there is guilt there, but if I had to go back I probably would have made many of the same choices. It is war and in war you fight or you die. You return fire or you are killed. That is the black and white of it. I am simplifying things a bit. There are so many gray areas because of the cities, the civilians and such, but you still must understand that aspect.

When you do have to go to war, however, when you do have to kill or witness death and sorrow, when you can't look away because it is a child who was killed and you are the only one who speaks Arabic and must go comfort the family who just lost their little boy, those memories seep into your soul. I began to dream about those things all the time. You see I have what is called PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). It is what happens when you have seen or experienced something so traumatic that your mind has a very difficult time dealing with it. There are many symptoms (nightmares, insomnia, hyper-alertness...). I chose to write about those events. For me it was my attempt to put my daemons to rest. I still can't sleep very well and I think back to those days often, especially the day I had to see the boy killed.

I don't really know what else to tell you.

Take care XXXXXX

Zach

 

 

Comments

I hope you find peace soon. My father, who served USMC during WWII in the batal for Guadalcanal, used to say that those who served in war had already done their time in Hell. He would then ask the Lord to bring peace to all soldiers', both here on earth and for eternity. My father was such a kind and gentle soul, I was so blessed to have him as my father. I hope that you too will be able to release the 'demons' and find peace here on earth. God bless you for a continuous recovery and I thank you for your service to our country.

I am so thankful you and all the other Sandbox contributors are willing to write, and very pleased that someone has seen fit to make the reading of these blogs a school English project.

I have long felt the human content of Sandbox should be mandatory reading for today's youth, who are often all to desensitized to the emotional and actual reality of a war kept distant from the masses by the media. This ain't a video game folks.

Thank you for your part in bring that reality to the minds of the youth.

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