Like a woman who has
never given birth, the man who has not faced death and inflicted death
will for all of his life feel somehow not quite complete. Combat
veterans are completely puzzled and bemused by the strangers who try to
start fistfights with veterans in bars to prove how tough they are.
Macho civilians envy the veteran for something the veteran, or at least
some veterans, would be only too happy to transfer, or get rid of, like
bad memories, or a plastic leg.
The soldier's war comes and goes, and ends. But noncombatants search endlessly for substitutes for war and attach to war that esoteric glamor which always attaches itself to the unattainable...
Veterans quickly learn that the fantasies of aspiring war heroes and the realities of the experiences of war, what you gain for a short time and what you lose forever, can never be bridged.