So LBJ played a hugely significant role in the Civil Rights movement.
But LBJ was lost in Vietnam. So many were lost there. John Kerry said, “How do you ask a man [or woman] to be the last to die for a mistake?” Why don’t we ask that more often?
“They carried all they could bear, and then some, including a silent awe for the terrible power of the things they carried.” For that trip to France, I packed The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien. I finished it that fall in France. And then I began writing my own piece on Vietnam.
Tim O’Brien wrote more books about Nam. Will I read those? I don’t know.
Surely we all know what they carried in Nam, just like in any war. The packs and the weapons and the food. And the fear and the hope and the anger and the panic and the despair. When do they stop carrying all those last things? Ever?
[From “My own story of war,” which I began writing in summer 2009 and completed in spring 2011.]