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The Other Side of War: A Moment With Bill Reflection

Updated on January 26, 2014

Some Opening Thoughts

On September 9, 1943, Operation Avalanche was begun as the United States 5th Army invaded Italy at Salerno. In an attempt to achieve surprise, there was no pre-invasion bombardment of the beachhead.

There was no surprise. The enemy was waiting, heavily fortified with guns trained on the incoming amphibious landing craft.

It was a bloodbath.

I know because my father was there.

I was twelve when I first asked my dad to tell me some war stories. My experience with war, to that date, had been the standard Hollywood fare that was served up en masse after the war, with John Wayne shooting the bad guys, and red water colors splashed on the actors to signify a wound.

Dad chose the invasion at Salerno as my baptism of fire and it is one I’ll never forget. It went something like this:

The first sensation is fear. Did you know you can smell fear, Bill? Well you can, and I smelled it that day. It took about fifteen minutes to reach the beach from the ship, and during those fifteen minutes the fear grew and so did the stench. Grown men were shitting and peeing themselves as we got closer to the beach.

Suddenly your craft runs aground and the gate drops and there is screaming and bullets buzzing…it sounds like millions of pissed off hornets, the sky is filled with them, and you stagger off of the craft into chest deep water and start to push towards shore, which is really madness when you think about it because that’s where those damn hornets are coming from, and if they “sting” you then you are dead, and you are walking right at them.

I fell down a couple times, tripping over men I guess, and the water was turning red, and then shells started bursting all over, and an arm floats by and then a leg, and guys you had trained with have lifeless eyes and torn out guts and the damn screaming just won’t stop.

You finally reach shore and you fall down behind some dead guy, and duck your head down as the bullets are thumping into his body, and let me tell you, Bill, there ain’t no atheists in a foxhole, cuz we were all praying by God, just get us the hell out of there please, just give us one more chance to walk with loved ones and laugh at picnics and oh, shit, the hornets won’t stop.

And somehow, some way, we made it, and when it was over, and we were grabbing a smoke and drinking from our canteens in the trenches, there were tears and smells and moaning and damn, don’t let anyone ever tell you that war is glorious.

My dad ten years after the war.
My dad ten years after the war. | Source
My uncle before the war.
My uncle before the war. | Source

To the Pacific Theater We Go

My Uncle Mike, my mom’s brother, came home early from World War II. One day, during the Battle of Midway, with shells exploding and fire breathing around him, he was feeding shells into one of the big guns onboard, and suddenly he couldn’t move. His mind was sending signals but his arms wouldn’t react. He just stood there staring at the shells, and his hands, and then his knees turned to jelly and he sank right there on the ship deck. He was carried down to the infirmary, and the doc checked for wounds but none could be found. All that was left was a thousand-yard stare where once there had been life-filled eyes. My uncle had left reality and entered the safety of his own mind, a mind that could not accept the death he had seen and the fear he had tasted.

They shipped him home and after a brief stint in the base hospital he re-entered civilian life and promptly began his love affair with the bottle. For twenty years he drank to drown out the screams. For twenty years he drank to forget the horrors.

I asked him once, after the alcohol had finally been purged from his life, what it was like.

He smiled at me, but there was no warmth in that smile. He shook his head and walked away.

Summer in Southeast Asia

Ronnie was a high school classmate and friend of mine. In August of 1966, as I headed off to college, he packed his bags and headed for Fort Lewis and basic training.

For a year we traded letters on a regular basis. I told him of school dances and basketball games and baseball workouts, and he told me of fifty mile hikes with full pack, and ribbons won and finally, of orders to serve in Vietnam.

The letters came sporadically after that as I had this sense that Ronnie just couldn’t bear to write about a living nightmare. There were a few, of course, passing remarks about body bags and dismembered soldier boys, and one in detail about holding the intestines of his friend Joe in his hands and telling Joe that it would be alright, and I swear to you I saw a tear stain on that letter.

And then there were no more letters. Ronnie was out on patrol one fine August afternoon in the steaming excrement that was Vietnam, and he stepped on a landmine and that was that. He came home a month later in a shiny box with a flag draped over it, with the hopes and dreams of another soldier boy tucked safely inside the box, never to fear again.

No, War Is Not Glorious

I wonder how many of our political leaders have fought in battle. How many of them have tasted the fear, smelled the released bowels or seen their best friends shredded by hornets. I wonder how many of them have prayed for one more picnic with loved ones, or felt the life bleeding out of a comrade, desperately trying to staunch that bleeding, staunch that bleeding, staunch that god damn bleeding, and I wonder how many of them prayed to a God they never knew until their own mortality was the most precious thing on earth.

I wonder how many of them have walked the streets of Iraq, hoping to make it through one more night without a sniper shot ending all love, all dreams, all memories made or yet to make.

It is never the zealots who must fight. It is never the warmongers and Syria-haters who grab a rifle, grab a pack, and head off to the next nightmare on the globe. No, it is our cousin or nephew, our Little Johnny or Sweet Julie, fresh out of high school, a whole life of promises ahead, who do the dirty work of those who vote yes for war.

Perhaps if the politicians in their starched white shirts and their thousand dollar suits sipping martinis under the shadow of the Capitol Dome, perhaps if they tasted terror, if they had to stare down their own personal elephant, if they had to bury pieces of their best buddy….perhaps then their vote for war would be well-informed and meaningful.

Most of us have this nice, neat vision of a bullet wound. The bullet enters, the bullet expends energy, the bullet comes to rest. In truth, a high-velocity bullet is the textbook definition of kinetic energy, flipping aside tissue, bone and organs as it makes its way through the body. The track of a bullet can be thirty times larger than the bullet itself before that kinetic energy is exhausted. A reasonably small hole where it enters; a hole big enough to stick your hand in where it leaves, and the bloody spray that ensues will forever be etched in the minds of those who have seen it.

It is well that war is so terrible. We should grow too fond of it.
Robert E. Lee

Source

And so It Goes

I have grown tired of war. Any sane person would say the same. I have lost far too many friends and yes, family, to the insanity of it all and I am weary of it. Is there any chance…is there any hope….that we will eventually learn from the past.

The war... was an unnecessary condition of affairs, and might have been avoided if forebearance and wisdom had been practiced on both sides.
Robert E. Lee

Yes, bring on the politicians who would have our young men and women step to the front again. Bring on the extremists who believe that rhetorical bullshit is more important than flesh and blood. Bring on the CEO’s who would profit from the next onslaught and bring on the hate-spewing pedagogues who flood the airwaves with their trite clichés about honor and vengeance, as if those two ever belong in the same sentence.

Bring them all on and let them stand in front of a mother who has lost her baby boy in a firefight. Bring them on and let them see for themselves the aftermath of a bullet travelling at 2000 feet per second. Bring them on and ask them if they can find the life in the eyes of a veteran who has seen one too many deaths.

Yes, I have grown tired of war and I have grown tired of its aftermath. I am more than ready for some forbearance and wisdom.

September 9, 1943. It was a bloodbath.

September 9, 2013. The bloodbaths continue.

Don’t let anyone ever tell you that war is glorious, and don’t let anyone ever dehumanize war. War is all about human…human blood…human bones….human organs….human tissue….and….

Human life.

2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

Source

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    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 3 years ago from New York, New York

      Bill, you said this quite perfectly. My uncle (my grandmother's brother) was in the army and fought in the Battle of the Bulge in WWII. He literally came back a different man from all he saw. He drank a lot to repress all he saw and went through. Thankfully he stopped drinking and got therapy after so many years. He is now almost 90 years old and definitely when he talks of his army days will tell you straight forward that there wasn't anything glorious about war and just how awful it was indeed. So, reading your article, I really must say that from all those I have known that were in the armed services during war time (my uncle the biggest example) that it isn't pretty and so very ugly indeed.

    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 3 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Holy shit, Billy. This is my favorite by far. I am over here bawling, and my kid's looking at me like, "What's your problem"?

      We Americans wouldn't know reality if it punched us in our faces. Writing like this is so important--it puts faces and meaning to the words "soldier" and "war". Thank you for sharing, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, thank you for sharing your relative's experience....it is so important that people humanize war...it is ugly and deadly and needs to be avoided at all costs.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lizzy, sorry about the tears....but thank you for telling me this is your favorite. Reality? Americans think it is reality television. We have been insulated from the ugly in life.....it is a plastic, fantastic society. :)

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Amen to being tired of war! First there's the story about your Dad. You awaken such an intensity of emotions, and then the "no warmth in that smile" tells the consequence. Thanks to him and all other like who endured on the behalf of others. Thanks to you, Bill, for expressing our feelings so well.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Dora! I think citizens needs to understand what is involved when our leaders start considering another war....it is ugly!

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 3 years ago from Upstate New York

      I am speechless, tearful, heartbroken and traumatized. That being said, I voted up and awesome. I hate war and bickering so very much and you hit the nail on the head about those who have NO CLUE what it's like.

      I hardly knew my dad, but I know he was in WWII, and he shook constantly when he returned. Died at age 35. I guess we all have a story.

      Thanks for the eye-opener, and you should send this hub to every newspaper in the country. Blessings Sparklea

    • Mr Archer profile image

      Mr Archer 3 years ago from Missouri

      Some 30 years ago a place I worked at had a weekend fishing trip. On the first night, while sitting around the campfire with these older men, we were laughing and joking, telling tall tales about our past. One man was not laughing or joking, although he had a sad smile on his face.

      We asked him what was wrong and after a bit of coaxing he relayed to us his experiences in'Nam. He had been a medic in that "conflict" and what he told us stays with me to this day. It was one of the most powerful, and haunting, moments of my life. The group of us sitting around the fire, laughing like we had been took him back to a time in 'Nam when his group had been doing the same thing. Then came an attack, and what he went through left him in tears that night, and those of us fortunate enough to have not been over there glad we hadn't been, and those who had been there crying along with him.

      Your work here took me straight back to that night, and made it live again. Thank you, and I send blessings and prayers to all of those who have lost loved ones over the years. Some of these wars I understand; some no one understands.

    • Curiad profile image

      Mark G Weller 3 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

      Very well said Bill, it is such a sad state of affairs when a society lives such as ours does. Like an ostrich with it's head in the sand as the "Leaders" laugh all the way to the bank.

      Mark

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lea, thank you! It is too easy to glorify war, or justify war, but not so easy to fight it on the ground and suffer the consequences. I hope members of Congress and the President remember that.

      blessings my dear

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you for sharing that, Mike. These stories are so common in our society, and I want others to realize that war is horrible and crippling and yes, deadly....on a human level there is nothing glorious about war. Hopefully those in Congress with realize that fact and do the right thing.

      blessings to you and yours my friend

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Yes they do, Mark, and it pisses me off. What do I want? I want more people pissed off. :)

      Thanks buddy!

    • rfmoran profile image

      Russ Moran 3 years ago from Long Island, New York

      This is very powerful writing, Bill. Writing about war is a special talent that few possess. You should consider a novel or novella based on your knowledge from your dad and your uncle. As a former military man, I never saw combat, but had and have many friends who did. It's ugly business to be sure. But sometimes, and I'm not speaking of Syria, a strongly worded letter won't do.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 3 years ago from Arizona

      All of my family missed the war..too old or too young. It is something that seems to happen when religious or other beliefs differ..and also those who are out to destroy people in NON-war time. I frankly don't understand it all..no matter what country these are people with families and a lives that end.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Russ, I completely agree. There are times when war seems to be the only way we can settle differences....I wish it were different but I'm enough of a realist to know there are some conflicts that cannot be avoided.

      Thank you for your kind words my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Carol, this business with Syria is interesting....the American public seems to be standing up and saying NO! and that hasn't happened in quite awhile. I hope our voice is heard.

      Thank you Arizona!

    • cleaner3 profile image

      cleaner3 3 years ago from Pueblo, Colorado

      great write again ..Bill .. War is hell.... when will we learn? give peace a chance!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michael, I don't know when we will learn but I damn sure hope it is soon. :) thanks buddy!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      Wow Billy this one has to be one of your best and your talent shines through with a glowing force.

      I vote up, share and wish you and Bev a great day..

      Eddy.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Eddy! It's pretty easy to tell when I feel strongly about a subject. :)

      love,

      billy

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      What a powerful piece, Bill. I've never believed in war, although I come from a military background. War to achieve peace? What an assinine oxymoron! What's worse, is we haven't fought a war on our own turf since the 1800s, so why do we sacrifice our upcoming generations for other countries? Let them fight it out if that's how they see fit to come to an agreement. The sad thing is, if we keep sticking our nose in other countries' business, we will have a war on our turf!

      You're right - let those who vote to go to war be the ones to go to war. War is not the answer and as, the song says, "there's got to be a better way".

      BTW, I would love the radio stations to start playing "War" all across the nation. But we've lost our balls. Don't want to rock the boat! Oh, no - let's just sit back quietly, then come forth to mourn our dead. It makes me sick. Why aren't the music makers singing to the mountain tops across our land, as they did in the 60s? How many more have to die?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Sha and obviously I agree with you. There has been far too much war in the time I've lived and amazingly we don't seem to learn the lessons of the past. It's all about economics for our country. We got tied up in the economic go-around in other nations and then get involved to protect our economic interests. This insanity has to end soon or it will keep getting worse.

    • LKMore01 profile image

      LKMore01 3 years ago

      Wiping away tears as I read and still feel them well in my eyes as I write. This is extraordinarily powerful, Bill.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LK, I am flattered, and so very happy that others are having that reaction....this topic should make people cry. :) Thank you my friend...thank you for caring.

    • watergeek profile image

      watergeek 3 years ago

      Remember the powerful effect it had on the American public when the media started reporting details on the VietNam war? Body bags being unloaded from Army planes, body parts, and crying relatives? Almost immediately there was such a big outcry that our government had to stop the war. After that, they/their cronies bought up the media, and I believe made it illegal to be that graphic (i.e. show the truth) about war. Even so, the public is still overwhelmingly against war, but politicians don't listen anymore.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      watergeek, I remember it well, and the American public found it a bit hard to enjoy their dinners while watching the dead being unloaded. Great point...Americans need to understand that war is death...that it comes with a cost....and I'm just waiting for the day when the American public stands up and says they have had enough!

      Thanks for the visit and great comment.

    • livingsta profile image

      livingsta 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      Great hub Bill. I can picture the scene through your words here. Thank you for sharing your experiences and thoughts with us. We all need to stand against war and similar things in this world. Hope you are well my friend.

      God bless.

      Sending you blessings and hugs.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dahlia, you are so very kind. Thank you so much and yes, war should never be an option unless attacked....sending blessings and a hug to you.

      bill

    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 3 years ago

      When I was in high school, I was in a trio at our church. Some one heard us and requested that we sing at a funeral. It was a flag draped coffin and a very young married man who had dreams and hopes and

      all he wanted to do was do his job and come home to his young wife; that was who lay in that coffin. And, as we sang, that young wife was screaming in anguish. She was letting go of hopes and dreams. and she was forced to be saying good bye long before she thought she would have to.

      It is hard to sing in three part harmony when you are in the presence of

      a family whose hearts have been broken--with parents who will never be the same---with small children not understanding why they must stare

      at a long box and say good bye to daddy.

      I found that if I bit the inside of my cheek, the pain would take me into another realm where I could sing my part in the song. We usually sang three songs, throughout the service. Then, we would slip away before the body was taken to the grave site.

      First, there was one funeral a week, then two, then at one point we sang at three funerals for Vietnam vets---three funerals in a single day!

      I was 14-15 years old. I never told anyone about my methods of inducing pain, to be able to sing. There was scar tissue all around my cheeks.

      I saw all I needed to see of war.

      I have been married twice. The first one was a Marine who had horrible

      nightmares and jumped under table tops when a car backfired.

      The second was a helicopter pilot who had more anger issues than any man should bear.

      Bill, you have given us an incredibly unabashed look at the horrors or war. It destroys lives, it destroys families, it destroys nations. Somehow,

      someway, the madness must stop. We do not even know which countries

      we are fighting.

      The Middle East has always been a hot bed of war. They have been at war with each other since the beginning of time. We cannot stop their war by going to war with them.

      My step son leaves in two weeks for special military training.

      They will not tell him where he is going, or how long he will be gone.

      This will be his second trip. He is married with a daughter.

      Everyone has a story. Thank you for telling yours, and thank you for letting me tell mine.

      DJ.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Unbelievable, DJ! I cried reading a comment. That's a first. Oh the memories my friend....I was raised a Catholic and like all good Catholic boys I was an altar boy during grade school. I don't know how many funerals I served at, but know most of them were military. I have seen the anguish from families....I have felt the anguish in our family....I am dead tired of seeing anguish for no logical reason.

      Thank you so much for sharing your story. If only we could get millions to read your words.

      bill

    • epbooks profile image

      Elizabeth Parker 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      What an eye-opening hub, Bill. I don't think I can add anything that hasn't been said. The only words that come to mind is that my heart weeps for those who have gone through this experience or have lost loved ones. So often, people forget that others are people. They have an image that they are robotic, or perhaps that is just easier for them to think of them that way. Sad truths here. Thanks for sharing and now I'll share this too.

    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 3 years ago

      Bill, this is one of your best articles. Anyone who has a heart will feel the

      anguish that war brings to people. You put names to those people which really brings it home. I do wish you would approach your town newspaper. I think it would make an admirable print and people will

      know that they are thinking like the majority of people. We are all sick of war. Please think about publishing this piece, Bill.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I will, DJ...thank you so much!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Liz, welcome back after you mini-vacation. It's funny, but I know more about some of the writers here on HP than I do about some of my distant family. LOL Anyway, good to see you again and thank you so much for your kind words.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

      Billy, this took some very deep thought and time to prepare this. Living in a military town, and having many relatives that fought in war including Nam, I can envision your words. When I was a child, I had nightmares about wars that never have occurred. It was the memories being told about at family gatherings.

      My father-in-law was in the navy in the early 1950s. He told me that lye was spilt on him and it ate his flesh from his knees to his feet. Expecting a first baby and a wife back home, what a terrible mess.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Crafty, it is my hope that a day will come when our service men and women will never again face the horrors of war. Maybe unrealistic but still, my fervent hope. :) Thank you for sharing your story.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Reckon I will drop by again later and then maybe later again. This is like one of the books where before turning the page you just lay it on your chest and try to really comprehend what was just read. Just the vision you painted so well will take time to process.

      Thanks buddy.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Eric! I consider that a very high compliment.

    • whonunuwho profile image

      whonunuwho 3 years ago from United States

      Bill..I realize that Lee surrendered in that battle of the Civil War because he did not want to lose any more souls. My dad was wounded in one of those landings in WWII, and when Nam came along in 1966, I felt compelled to go. Uncle Sam refused to take me because of the six inch scar on my spine from a recent football injury, I went to college and became a teacher for twenty years. I never forgot my friends who died. War is hell..no other name fits it so well. Great message you have shared my friend, whonu.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Whonu, I appreciate you sharing a part of your life for others to learn from. There is no other description for war but hell, and anyone who doesn't agree has never seen the effects of it. Thank you!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I listened to the president tonight and thought, " PLEASE think more deeply about bombing Syria. I know the dictator Bashar Al A ssed is an evil man who kills his own people with chemical gasses, he must be stopped, but we have the ability to take him out without war. War is evil, there are never any winners, history has revealed that. Great article Bill.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Ruby and I totally agree...there must be another way.

    • agusfanani profile image

      agusfanani 3 years ago from Indonesia

      Wow, I've read not only a page turner war story but also got a very good lesson how to present a story in a hub. Thank you for sharing your interesting story and lesson in writing.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Bill, war is pure hell. Thank you for sharing here about your dad and all. I know war is pure hell, because as a child I heard, while I was lying in my bed, my dad having PTSD trauma from what he lived through, if that is what one wants to call it, living. I tried to cover my ears from hearing of such horrors that my dad went through, who did not know how to cope with such trauma once returned home. Although, he may not have had any battle scars visible to the eye, his mind was certainly battle-scarred. I cry knowing of those who have seen and experienced such horrors.

      God bless, Faith Reaper

    • rdsparrowriter profile image

      rdsparrowriter 3 years ago

      All I can say is WOW! Thank you for sharing this interesting article about what your family went through in difficult times.

    • Rusti Mccollum profile image

      Ruth McCollum 3 years ago from Lake Oswego, Oregon

      Another great article my friend! I just love your work Billy. Every hub is so powerful...

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      agusfanani, thank you very much for your kind words.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Faith, for those of us who have seen the effects of war, there is only one conclusion: it must be avoided at all costs.

      Thank you and blessings always

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      rd, thank you so much. I greatly appreciate you visiting me and blessings to you in your new marriage.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rusti my friend, thank you! I hope you are doing better.

      hugs and blessings to you

      bill

    • profile image

      Rusti 3 years ago

      I am Billy .I am doing good.I'm currently writing a story about my mom's life during WW2 in Germany.From her side.She was a child, she actually played on a live bomb and was saved by a American G.I.... I found your article very powerful and insightful.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rusti, what a powerful story that will be. Best wishes in writing it and I'm happy to hear you are doing well.

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 3 years ago from Hawaii

      We all imagine how cool fighting and epic battles are, but real life is always another thing entirely.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It is for sure, vkwok. Thank you for your thoughts.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      My dad fought in a war too, although I wasn't born yet and he never talked about it to us kids. He was wounded and Mom told us bits and pieces of things he saw like a pregnant woman cut open....

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 3 years ago

      Hi. O Bill if you're grown tired of war and its aftermath, you aren't alone.I hate word war and anything associated with it. It's the last theme I would like to be associated with.

      At age of five I've seen first killing yards of distance on the farm my parents lived as defeated military unit was rannig for freedom; by ten, the region has been occupied by three different countries and every military presence has found reason killing some of residence. Not even to mantion countless burials of young " partisans" accopanied with such loud lamentation that will stay in my memory for additional long time yet.

      Still remember hundreds of orphans from other part of the country where only few elderly has survived, and children were strewed all over other parts of the country,More than 10 % of population has been killed...

      There is nothing glorious or human about war, although so-called human are promoting it. Evil, corrupted bloodthirsty elected governing elite who will justified even murdering babies just to please their god Satan .

      Voted up, awesome and useful.

      Have a blessed day- weekend.

    • UnnamedHarald profile image

      David Hunt 3 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      Awesome, and so voted. I would only say that even those "wise ones" who served when young might have a little "well, I served, so I have the right to send in the troops" in their thinking. Now, if those deciding were then sent to the front, a little more thought might be in order.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi Bill, I read this yesterday but was unable to place a comment, for some reason, our computers were running so slow, one would be forgiven for thinking it was in reverse. :)

      This is an incredible write! My husband is ex-para and although he has been out of the forces for many years, he still have nightmares. He often goes into a deep depression as Remembrance day approaches. It took him years to talk about his experiences.

      Wars are terrible, whichever way you look at it, but thank goodness there are those who are prepared to put their lives on the line. A huge hug to you for this.

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      Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

      "Mankind must put an end to war before war puts an end to mankind." -

      John F. Kennedy - I don't think I can say it any better than that.

      Old as I am I was too young to know any war but Nam and I lost several friends. Several young men who had led beautiful lives and had so much more to live for. To this day there has never been an explanation for their senseless deaths, except war.

      This hub Bill rises above the rest. Truth in telling, fear on the battlefield with the smell of death all around you vs starched white shirts and rhetoric about war. This hub is heartfelt, sad and yet beautiful.

      Voted everything but funny, pinned and shared.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Jackie, for sharing a part of your experience. I am very tired of hearing others call for war....they simply do not understand the horrors of it.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michael, I cannot imagine what you have gone through in your country. Thank you for sharing your experience with war. Hopefully your powerful words will be read by others so that they will learn the horrors of war. Thank you my friend.

      blessings always

      bill

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      UnnamedHarald, thank you for adding that. There is nothing majestic about war....it is pure hell and needs to be considered as such before blithely voting for it.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jo, thank you for sharing that about your husband and yes indeed thank God there are those willing to do the dirty work so we can remain free.

      blessings my friend

      bill

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, thank you so much. I wanted this one powerful and unsettling. There is nothing glorious about war...people die...hopes die....dreams die....and it should be very difficult for anyone to vote for killing no matter the reason.

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      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Pick up those emotions and stow them in your mind forever. That's what war is: nasty, vicious, and not even worth the paper that those orders were printed on. My father refused to tell me anything when I asked. My friend, Joey, told me that nobody understands unless they have been there in the same damn foxhole, in the same damn memory of the moment. I know more about war even though I know nothing, than one of those white shirts that you speak about.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Deb, hopefully there will always be some of us who realize the horrors of war. I have seen far too much of it and its effects. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on it.

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      Suzanne Ridgeway 3 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Bill,

      What a beautifully written piece, I read every single word and your 3 examples are such powerful ones. War is always filled with casualties and the loss of human life can never be forgotten or replaced. Awesome work my friend :-)

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Suzie! This one was important to me. :)

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      Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Hi, Bill!

      Your account of what your father shared with you about September 9, 1943--Operation Avalanche--along with the vignettes of your Uncle Mike and your former classmate, Ronnie, are lasting tributes to them and all the other brave souls who experienced the horrors of war firsthand.

      I was especially moved by your presentation of what your father shared with you. Bill. Just as you do with your other excellent articles, you gave us what's REAL while poignantly making a very strong statement about the politicians and fat cats--many of whom never experienced war firsthand--who either push the buttons or create a larger national debt financing the military missions. As civilization marches forward, it's still always easier to punch the other guy in the nose than to work harder at negotiating peace...or, even more simply, minding our own business and resolving the issues confined to our own borders. Here's to keeping it real, Bill! Aloha, my friend!

      ~Joe

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Good morning Joe!

      We are heading off to the Puyallup Fair this morning so I have to rush this comment, but thank you. War should be real to people and not some video game. People need to see the effects of war; maybe then they wouldn't be so eager to send young men and women off to it.

      Maybe if the government would just mind our business rather than the business of other nations, we could stay out of war for a few years.

      Have a great day in Orlando my friend.

      Aloha,

      bill

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      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      I can't help but think of the tragedy of today's story on the news. One lone gunman, for some reason yet unexplained, brought down thirteen innocent lives. Was it due to his exposure to war games, war in general or just visions of power? As you say, the reality is human lives are the cost of war.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Diana, a sad day indeed and we may never know the reason for senseless killing but we must never forget the cost of it.

      Thank you for your thoughts.

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      Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

      Wow - A friend of mine's father was in Vietnam and she says he rarely ever speaks about it. She asked him why once and he said that those who saw the things he saw didn't ever want to speak of them again and most of them wouldn't. This article is extremely powerful and really brought his comments home.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Glimmer. I wanted it to send a power message....there is no glory in war.

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      Thomas Bensen 2 years ago from Round Lake Park

      Billy another moving and honest hub. I had to take a minute to wipe the tears away.

      For years I have struggled to explain to my family and friends what I had seen and felt, I mostly have kept inside. I pretty much tell them I am proud of my service but not what I had to do, that war in all it's chaos should never be experience by sane men and I don't wish it on anyone.

      Reading your hubs has motivated me to take all my writings and clean them up and hopefully share them with my family and possibly here with the world.

      Thank you again for sharing with us.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      bensen, bless you my friend, and thank you for your service to your country. There are many of us who appreciate you greatly.

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