War is a thing that blurs the line between the truth and the surreal; what happens in war doesn’t seem like it can ever be real, but at the same time, it is happening. Many returning soldiers feel alienated from their homes and families, because no one can truly understand the things they’ve seen or experienced. Author Tim O’Brien experienced war firsthand when he was drafted to fight in Vietnam in 1969 and 1970. He and the other men in his unit saw unspeakable horrors, but also moments of beauty and peace, which seem incompatible with the landscape of brutality and fear. O’Brien calls his novel a work of fiction, but it is based on the experiences of thousands of men, called to fight for their country in the muck and jungle of a part of the world far removed from their own.
I keep a doll that my grandmother gave to me when I was 6. She passed away last year, and I miss her a lot. I’ve carried this doll with me everywhere: on vacations, to the hospital when I had to have my appendix removed, and to my Nana’s funeral.
The first thing that I need in order to get through the school day is my phone. I use it for my watch because it’s digital and easier to read the time quickly. I also use it to keep in touch with my friends during the day, and my parents. I like to take pictures of my friends during lunch, too.
The second thing that I need is my backpack. I don’t have as many textbooks anymore since we switched to textbooks online, but I still have folders, papers, pens, pencils, and paperback books to carry around. Without my backpack, I would be so disorganized and leave stuff all over the school.
One memory that is really important to me is when I was 8, my best friend Hannah moved into the house next door. She came over to my yard and said hello, and I knew instantly that we would get along. I like to remember this because it makes me happy, and I remember the moment vividly.
Another memory that stands out is when I ruined my mom’s new dress that she had just bought for my dad’s policeman’s ball. I blamed it on my little brother, who was 2 and I knew wouldn’t get into too much trouble. I still feel guilty about doing that because I should have just told the truth instead.