As noted earlier in these pages, I am a proud member of the American Legion. Some other members are reading Last of the Annamese; some have finished it. They’ve told me how personal the story is to them. They understood how Chuck, the protagonist, felt. They agonized along with him.
In a very real sense, Annamese was written for veterans. These men and women are my brothers and sisters. We share experiences the rest of Americans are spared. We have bitter memories that won’t leave us in peace. We know what it is to lose a buddy under fire. We know without being told that we are alive because somebody else died in our place.
We veterans are often silent with each other because no words are needed. The bond is there. Each of us knows that we put our lives on the line for one another and would do it again.
In our common grief and pride, we love one another, but we’re not sentimental enough to use the word “love.”