One of the most famous influential war leaders, Winston Churchill, explains how “ In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies”. Still until this day, war continues to influence the modern world, which makes us believe we know the truth of war. Many feel that they know or understand it because it is shown through media or told by people that “heard” something about it. The thing is, the reality of this phenomenon is we really don’t know what war truly is about, even though we see it. A real way to know what war truly is and that is through experience, but there are more ways of truly knowing. Just like Tim O’Brien in, How to Tell a True War Story, shares stories about his experiences in the Vietnam War and what the war is from the perspective of a soldier. Throughout the story, multiple stories are told of the beauty of war through experienced combat, even through some of the most horrid times. His experiences guided him as well as his fellow soldiers into realizing the truths behind it. As these stories are told, O’Brien supports the ideas that true war stories are believed when most of the time they are lies and the stories that are true are believed to be lies. An interesting concept forms leaving us to believe that O’ Brien’s stories are true not knowing if they truly happened or not. True war stories share uncertain truths and portrays the transformation of a solider throughout his experience during combat.
In 1954, the Vietnam War began due to the prolonged struggle between nationalist forces attempting to control Northern Vietnam under a communist government. The United States, whose ally was South Vietnam, attempted to prevent the spread of communism. It was estimated that millions of soldiers died in the war, which caused division among American citizens due to their beliefs of ending the war and peace movements. As the citizens continued to oppose war, In 1973,President Nixon ordered withdrawal of the United States forces from the Vietnam War ending hostility. A couple years after that event, Northern Vietnam took control of Southern Vietnam (Saigon) in 1975, which was the end of the Vietnam War because communism kept growing. The Vietnam War was one of the most violent wars known to man that left a mark as it swept out many people, failing to achieve a goal. Now all of the veterans of the war are left with twisted stories and experiences that impacted who they are for the rest of their lives. Even years later Tim O’ Brien is still impacted from his experiences. He provides multiple people and audiences with his stories, but uncertain if anybody will believe what he has to say because “in a true war story nothing is ever absolutely true”( O’Brien 564).
Tim O’Brien’s stories he told after the war are not the only shared uncertain truths, but also share his experiences during the war itself. He goes into the war with a completely different perspective and comes out with a different one. He describes multiple events in his story The Vietnam In Me that influenced the way he tells war stories as well as the truths behind them. Through his experience as a soldier he talks about how lost he was trying to find the answer of what war is itself. He experiences horrid events, like Curt Lemon’s Death in How to Tell A True War Story, explaining to us how he felt during those times. He felt bad as a person as he went through those experiences. He even wanted to kill himself at some point. Tim O’Brien explains how he despised himself because “I would risk conscience and rectitude before risking the loss of love”(O’Brien 569). He realized that he chose war rather than life itself because in the beginning he felt war was different, but during his experiences, finds out the truths behind war. He believes that he set himself up from the start understanding why the war made him feel the way he did. After Tim changed, his experiences helped him know what war was really about....
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