The Madellne Island Ferry, Lake Superior, June 2016

The Madellne Island Ferry, Lake Superior, June 2016

We love hearing from Storyboard readers. A message from one, in response to last week’s pieces, inspired this U.S. Memorial Day post — something of a thoughtful holiday bonus.

Among last week’s posts, we included two about war:

A deep interview with pscyhologist and photo forensics specialist Michael Shaw about Shaw’s uncomfortable exploration, for The New York Times Magazine, of the identity of a wounded Marine from the 1968 Tet Offensive in Vietnam;

And my brief essay about a sentence from “The Things They Carried,” Tim O’Brien’s haunting novelistic meditation of the Vietnam War. That sentence:

A true war story is never moral.

Two days later, an email came: “(My wife told me about the) O’Brien reference in your Storyboard entry this week … and I pulled my worn and autographed copy of “The Things They Carried” off my two shelves of war-related books. I have lost track of how many times I have read that book, and I have been to at least two readings by O’Brien when he was in town. I found the quote you used marked in my book, too. And at the end of that chapter, on Page 91, this:”

And in the end, of course, a true war story is never about war. It is about sunlight. It’s about the special way that dawn spreads out on a river when you know you must cross the river and march into the mountains and do things you are afraid to do. It’s about love and memory. It’s about sorrow. It’s about sisters who never write back and people who never listen.

Mostly, I think, it’s a day to remember, and never forget.

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