As noted earlier in these pages, I am a proud veteran. Other veterans have read my novel, Last of the Annamese. 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, the novel 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 know that we put our lives on the line for one another. In our common grief and pride, we love one another, but we’re not sentimental enough to use the word “love.” We use no words. It’s hand on the shoulder, a look in the eyes, a smile. Our experience has given us common memories, but our bond is unspoken.