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Real Pulitzer Material

Unlike the liberal garbage usually nominated.  Another fine Michael Yon submission, it starts thus:

If normal life were a river, most days would likely be a slow-moving, meandering passage.  But when a life squeezes into the gorge of war, there can be a deafening whitewater, falls and yet bigger falls, slams against stones, falls again and underwater no air and over the falls again and time stretches and compresses and seems to defy normal experience and over the falls again and you drown or don’t.  Some people come out the other side exhilarated and want to do it again and again, while others are terrified, and yet others will just do what needs to be done.  The persistence of the memories wrought would seem to leave clocks drooped over limbs or floating away.

From wars grow countless wild stories, many of which are true.  Even a single witness will hear thousands over the years.  Back at home, the retellings can seem vague, distant, and as soulful as a soleless boot.  But when you are in a war zone with civilians or combat troops, some stories might start like, “Be careful here.  This is where Jimmy got blown up,” and there is still a crater and all the branches are blown off a nearby tree.  Later in the day, “Be careful here, bullets sometimes come through that window,” and there are pocks on the walls inside the room.  The retellings are not secondhand, not ancient, but immediate and pressing.  In the wars, stories are road signs to the here and now, and so you seek out stories not for entertainment.  They are not entertaining anyway.  Few people likely would be entertained by the story of their own death.  “This is where the suicide bomber hit,” and you are standing there, knowing lightning makes habits.

Go read it all.

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