My Beautiful Wickedness

I would make a lousy soldier…
December 6, 2007, 10:55 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I am teaching the Civil War and tomorrow we’re doing Chancellorsville, Vicksburg, Gettysburg, Chattanooga…and maybe on into 1864 if I’m really rolling.

I would no more charge into a gap to hold a line against enemy troops than I would fly. I am a coward of the first order when it comes to getting myself killed for things like “grey guys might take a cannon that is behind me….” Hey, buddy, take it. We can make another one of those.

I know soldiers fight to save other soldiers. They fight to keep their buddies alive. Very few footsoldiers are ideologically oriented.

But damn. Thinking closely about this, I am absolutely astonished that anyone consents to fight for our government. Thankful but incredulous.


3 Comments so far
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I think it might help if you played more first-person shooters. =p

I actually think the disinhibition/derealization of a game is pretty accurate… or, I should say, it’s accurate to what I think must be going on in their heads once they’re actually on a battlefield. Having never even played paintball (and don’t get me started on my awful experiences with laser tag), I can’t say for sure.

But… I think when you’re down there, your world narrows a lot. And you run to fill the gap and don’t think too specifically about the bad things that can happen, because there’s a wash of fear and adrenaline, and either your training holds, or you break and run away. At least, that’s what volunteering feels like to me. Or working in a florist’s shop for Valentines Day/Mother’s Day. You don’t really notice that you just volunteered to de-thorn 300 columbian roses until afterward, when you look at your bleeding hands and wonder what on earth compelled you to do that.

Comment by Magniloquence

I don’t think I could do it either, but I suspect anyone might feel differently once they’re in the thick of things.

Or maybe not.

Comment by Fraulein N

I’m with you. That whole “You’re going to charge this position because we expect that 70% of you are going to make it”.

No thanks.

Comment by Exador

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