One reason we do our Vets Speak Out sessions. To educate the public and to give our volunteer army a chance to speak about thier experiences on thier own terms.
When I tell people I’m a Marine, the next question many ask is: “Did you kill anyone?” To my ears, this sounds like: “What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done?” They don’t realize they’re asking about an intensely private matter.
Many veterans I know are incensed by this question. It reinforces the isolation they feel in a society that doesn’t seem to care about Iraq or Afghanistan. But to me, it speaks to the fact that civilians’ curiosity about war overwhelms their understanding of it. Most Americans have little idea what war means. Our battles are fought with volunteers, making an intimate knowledge of war voluntary as well — and therefore avoidable.