Recently I wrote a short story involving Ernest Hemingway’s story “Soldier Home”. In my story a person rereads Hemingway’s tale on the eve of America’s second Iraq invasion. He reads of the losses a World War I veteran has experienced, and realizes a new generation will suffer such losses.
In the decade following World War I a generation of writers came out. In such novels as Remarque’s All Quiet on the West Front and Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, veterans on all sides of the conflict told their stories. The tone of much of this work was anti-war, and this reflected to mood of most Americans in the 1920’s.
Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts have largely been silent. They have suffered in silence, and their suicides have created an epidemic.
A new literature of war stories and veterans’ experiences needs to develop. Veterans of the recent conflicts need to tell their stories. Books by them should be published. Plays by them should be produced. A literary journal of their works should be started.
They will be better for breaking their silence. And so will we.