To illustrate the point that not every memory of the war was a bloody one, the narrator shared a few quick anecdotes of peace or happiness that he remembered as well. They weren't necessarily stories of great significance, but they were stories nonetheless. One line in particular that stood out to me in my reading was this:
"I guess, she's right: I should forget it. But the thing about remembering is that you don't forget." (page 33)
To me, that was a powerful statement. I'm a person who always remembers little details, and I find that the more I try to forget something the more difficult it becomes to let it go. Forgetting events in one's past only happens when the person himself doesn't realize it happening. So if the event was something worthwhile or memorable, the odds of forgetting it are rather low. Something like the Vietnam war would be impossible to forget I think.
Also, I found that my suspicion of the author being the narrator was correct. It was revealed in dialogue between himself and Norman Bowker.
"I'll tell you something, O'Brien. If I could have one wish, anything, I'd wish for my dad to write me a letter and say it's okay if I don't win any medals. That's all my old man talks about, nothing else." (page 34)
This made me like the book even more. I feel like it's more than just made up stories now, it's real. What I'm reading are the accounts of real men, with real families and real personalities. These were the men who chose to serve our country when they were only a year or two older than myself. That's a pretty scary thought. An even scarier thought is imagining the horrors they had to face - like killing the enemy.
"A slim, dead, dainty young man of about twenty.
Kiowa saying, 'No choice, Tim. What else could you do?'
Kiowa saying, 'Right?'
Kiowa saying, 'Talk to me.'" (page 36)
I don't know how I would deal with the guilt if that were me.