Jodi recently watched the Ken Burns Vietnam War documentary (yes all 18 hours worth) and has been encouraging me to see it as well. We sat down and watched the first installment last night.
I’ve watched my share of war movies, TV shows, documentaries, etc. They’re a staple of our media culture, even our American identity. They’re not things I gravitate towards as a rule.
The content in these representations is objectively awful — war is hell and the things people do to each other in the name of king and country are horrible. I’m not judging right and wrong re: causes, just observing.
I’ve mostly been detached from those aspects in the past, due in a large part to the incredibly good fortune to have never experienced war in any personal way myself.
Last night was different. It wasn’t the fact that Ken Burns’ work shows the horror of war, and the bullheaded stupidity of persons-in-charge — which it does admirably.
What’s different? I’m different. I’m still shaken after the Nevada shootings and my own memories resurfacing in new ways.
More then once while watching, the sound of machine gun fire from the screen had me imagining that hotel room in the Mandalay Bay, agape and helpless as a shadowed assassin fired non-stop into the crowds amassed below. And then I was in that high school trailer again, only this time the gun didn’t jam and people died.
I didn’t say anything. I shivered and went back to watching, afraid to admit that something that has remained in the background, all but gone, for nearly two decades is now looming over my shoulder again…