Beth Camp Historical Fiction

Thursday, April 12, 2018

K is for Kill Zone

Each morning, I've begun by thinking about today's letter for the A-to-Z April Blogging Challenge. Sometimes I wind up writing about writing or travel or a poem emerges. This morning, all I could think about was K is for kill. Why?

My husband, Allen, served in Viet Nam nearly 50 years ago, during the Tet Offensive. He wrote a book loosely based on his experiences there called Reaching. It's a well-written and tragic story about a young man drafted into military service.

But last night, Allen woke me up with his shouting. He was back in Viet Nam, arguing with his lieutenant about sending one of the men in his unit into deadly fire. "How could you do that," he shouted to the young, inept, and inexperienced lieutenant just assigned to his unit. For the lieutenant would not listen to his men or his sergeant, as Allen's unit held cover near an open rice paddy. Allen's friend was shot by the enemy, picked off by a sniper, and killed.

This last week, we've been on the road, to help friends following the death of a dear friend of more than 40 years. We've slept in a different place nearly every night, my own writing has been put aside, and the headlines suggest diplomacy by tweet whether we careen closer to war in Syria or rattle missiles in the Asia Pacific.

What kind of kill zone will we create? Whose lives will be lost? Another generation of young men and women forever tainted by a politician's war?

And the rest of us, what is our responsibility?