In my AP Language & Composition class we're reading a book written by a Vietnam War Veteran. The book is titled "The Things They Carried", and we had to write a warm up in class today about how war affects us and our society. Here is my response:
I can’t recall a time where I was adversely affected by war. In second grade, I recall sending care packages overseas for soldiers, but no one I know is currently enlisted in a branch of the armed forces. However, I’ve never approved of war. We learn in kindergarten to “use our words” instead of violence, so why hasn’t this golden glimmer of truth survived long enough to affect politicians? Why is it, that they can declare war without trying to talk it out? Why is it, that because of their hasty, angered actions, people die? Why is it, that people enlist in these wars when they know they could die? And why is it, that if a school group wants to go on a trip or purchase something useful, they have to hold a fundraiser, but when the army wants a new fighter jet, all they have to do is ask? Why do we spend so much money on war, when we should be spending money on our own country? Why are we fighting wars with no meaning? These are the questions that affect me.
I believe our society and culture has also been affected by these questions. On the whole, many are more affected by the death of loved ones than I am. I can’t imagine that.
Whenever I think of my brother, uncle or other family members enlisting in this war and dying, I just can’t fathom the loss it would bring. The military is a job, but if this job has the risk of death, why are they only being paid around $38,000 a year, when our President is paid $400,000 to declare these wars? It’s not fair. However, I think our society as a whole is affected more by these issues than I am.