The points you raise are interesting, Jim, and soul searching ones at that. Not ones I can answer five minutes on an internet forum. This is something I'm trying to understand and have a feeling I won't have a full grasp on it till I'm departing this life, either. Hopefully at a more robust age than twenty-eight. My life in the civil war, although I recall only snippets, I know from records that past me survived the war and went on to become a farmer of sorts in South Carolina. My death was peaceful, not on the battlefield. But I do know I probably carried scars. I had a dream a while back about myself in that life going out to a cabin in the middle of a woods and living as a hermit for some months probably after the war was over. He lost a wife, and brother during the war. But still, I found war in subsequent lives, or should I say, it found me. My very short life and death during the outbreak of the World War II set me in motion for my next life as Terry to look, subconsciously, for the justice of that small little boy who died. As Terry, I idolised the returning Vets, as many my age did. We grew up with Hemingway, tales of valour, tales of war, becoming men and doing your patriotic duty. It felt like a smart career choice at the time, too. There was no war in 1958 when I signed up. There was the threat of communism, and the cold war -- and the threat of all out nuclear disaster. Defending the country against that felt again like a smart choice. The rockets, radar technology and primitive (for the times) computers were fascinating to me, too. I still feel that I saw a poster somewhere with one of those cool rocket illustrations on saying they were looking for folks to sign up for the Army to defend the nation against the nuclear threat. The poster won me over. Someone must have thought I was decent enough at being a soldier, and recommended me to go sign up for the OCS. And then they were looking for folks (officers especially) to join Special Forces back in 1963 because they, the government, knew what we didn't know then which was that the war in SE Asia was going to escalate, and they wanted more SF folks over in SE Asia. Special Forces prior to that was mostly old timers, guys who had fought WWII & Korea and already had significant knowledge. But obviously they needed to expand, and they asked for volunteers. Most of the guys who volunteered were not like me then, that is to say, not married and w/ kids. But Special Forces was prestigious, they were airborne, the crem de la crem. And I knew I was capable to do that, so why not? It was infectious, the pride of being so capable in mind, and body. I felt like I belonged in the Army in a way that I have not felt since. It was my home, my brothers, my life, my blood, my everything. Jim Thompson, another Special Forces POW put it very well -- Army first, everything else came after. Then, of course, Vietnam happened. Prior to that, probably had knowledge it was going to happen. At least in '64 before the Marines landed, because we were preparing to go over at the end of '64, and we did go over in January '65 before the war officially started. Some of the guys I went over with had already been to Nam before in an advisory role. The advisory role meant we were to help out the locals, help train the local forces, and was under instruction not to shoot unless shot at. Would I take away my experiences of that life as Terry, having gone to Vietnam, done my time, even if things went so wrong? Even if the very institution I devoted my life to abandoned me? I don't think I could. It has shaped me. Scarred me. Challenged me. Opened my eyes. Made me stronger, weaker, wiser, dumber. Of course I can look at me now, today, and say look where it's lead me -- too afraid to face myself, my pain, choosing this life to hide away, hiding away from everyone, wanting to disappear. And I can say that I'll never get the recognition I deserved for serving my time, I won't get to heal my war wounds the way I would have wanted to. I won't get to sit and reconcile with my son how it was to serve in Vietnam in the way that I would want to. They'll be no slideshows of photographs I took, no trying to make up for lost time with my grandchildren. This is how it is. Myself, in a foreign land, foreign body, trying to make amends through a computer, and trying to find my death, my body, and trying to find it all so I can put myself to rest, and apologise to my family for leaving them behind.