Being a Soldier -Is going through war and experiencing things that you never thought you would, being changed by those experiences and never being the same. Being a soldier affects not only a soldier but their families as well. The emotional trauma along with the physical scars of war are very hard to get over and are often times with them for life.
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Child soldiers were used actively on both sides of the fighting during the Sierra Leone Civil War. Families were often split up, some children were taken by the rebel forces and forced to kill their family members, forced to set fire to their villages, have sex with their mothers and sisters, or face death themselves. These horrific things are what children between the ages of nine and fifteen had to endure fighting for the rebels. Those children recruited by the army were given guns that were too heavy for most of them to carry, and their lives consisted of watching violent war movies, killing, and doing drugs.
Song Lyrics
A hero of war
Is that what the see
Just medals and scars
So damn proud of me
And I brought home that flag
Now it gathers dust
But it's a flag that I love
It's the only flag I trust. - Hero of War (Rise Against)
Song Lyric Reaction
Hero of War is a song about the persona a war hero is given and the realization that war isn't always what it is portrayed to be. This song also talks about PTSD or post traumatic stress syndrome. PTSD is something often seen in soldiers that have trouble transitioning back from war into everyday life. This relates pretty closely back to A Long Way Gone because Ismael talks throughout the book about how what he has seen keeps him up at night, reoccurring thoughts about his family and what might has happened to them haunts his thoughts. His mind is his only refuge, but his thoughts are slowly changing him.
Quote and Reaction to Quote
In the book "A Long Way Gone" by Ishmael Beah, he talks about the influence of american rap music on him. On one ocasion in the book Ismael was sitting on the floor of a veranda in an abandoned village, he was experiencing painfull headaches and reoccuring nightmares about what he has seen and what could happen to his family. He recites this LL Cool J lyric "When I'm alone in my room sometimes I stare at the wall and in the back of my mind I hear my conscience call." His thoughts are slowly eating away at him.(pg.68)
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In this article Mike Wessells talks about how sobering the sight of small children participating in war is. During his trip to Sierra Leone he saw many children dancing and singing in the rehabilitation camps they were in, knowing in the back of his mind that those same children have killed countless men and other children just like them.
Summary of Book
Being a child soldier in Sierra Leone is an experience that many children did not live to retell. Many were killed in the conflict, because of drug overdoses, and in village raids and fires. The fighting lasted many years and left the country in ruins. After a cease fire was signed and an eventual agreement was made then Sierra Leone began to rebound but they will never forget all of the children and familes lost and the horrific lives that goes along with them.
Image of a Vietnam war sniper

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The image above is that of a marine sniper in the Vietnam war gazing threw his scope. There was a draft for the Vietnam war, just like there was for world war 2. These were just kids, going to war fighting for somebody else or something they didn't even believe in . Being a soldier wasen't something they wanted, is was something they had to learn to do and live with. It was either they go to Nam maybe live maybe die, or become the soldier most of them had no choice of becoming, and fight to make it home. They didn't care about whatever the higher up ranks wanted, they wanted to survive and go home, which is what being a good soldier allowed them to do...most of the time.

Movie Preview for the Hurt Locker

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The Video is about Sgt William James, about how a bomb tech who has defused over 800 different bombs that were planted by Alqueda and other forces.
Every time he and his 2 companions go out of the barracks into the field, there is a possibility the will die. Sgt James is a bit of a loose cannon and adrenaline junky which makes him the ace bomb tech he is. He goes home to his family and goes back to Iraq even after his term of service has passed. The majority of soldiers being a soldier wouldn't volunteer to go back but the occasional few will and one is Sgt James.

Lyrics from the song "The War" by Angels and Airwaves
...And the houses
Laid out like targets
With the deafening sound
We watched them all go down
And the families
Now useless bodies
They lay still black and blue
A gift from us to you...
Link to song
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Angels and Airwaves are one of my favorite bands, because they have meaningful songs with powerful lyrics and sweet melody. They wrote a song named the war, and one portion of it shown above on their first CD. The song relates to being a soldier in war, and you can tell by reading it that the songs message is...war is hell. The explanation for the lines 1-8 in order..The homes of people just sitting there, then they get bombed and the sound is deafening, and all you can do is watch, all the families broken up, and casualties of war dead, just laying there wasted, and they are calling it a gift because its our own faults. Being a soldier in this has no control over all then aspects of war and terrible things that happen, they just do what they are told.

Quote From Marine Sniper

"You forgot one of the most important aspects of leadership that i know. you totally neglected the welfare of your own men"
"I sent....I didn't neglect them sir."
"You Neglected one."
Hathcock concluded "me?" Pg 151.

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I am Reading the book marine sniper
Not much of a reaction. Did you forget to complete this?

Photograph of Victims of Bosnian War
external image BalkanWar2.jpg
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Many innocents were slaughtered by enemy forces. They were tortured, raped and humiliated before the Soldiers finished them off. This is an actual picture of the first Balkan War, where the Serbs wanted an ethnic cleansing, giving it the term of a genocide. Within these "death camps" there was systematic rape of women by the soldiers.

Book Quote
Pg. 9 "Death also marks the person who caused it..."

Book Quote Reaction
S. says this about the soldiers in the camp because they have killed many people there.
The soldiers can see their victims and that can haunt their life.

Alone the Soldier Is...

Alone the soldier is...
lying on his bunk
in a unfamiliar land
thousands of miles from home
her picture at hand
his thoughts...
reliving old memories of home
his thoughts...
wondering, thinking of her
Alone the soldier is...
standing in the hot sun
in a unfamiliar land
thousands of miles from home
his rifle at hand
his eyes...
looking all around
his thoughts...
memories of home
Alone the soldier is....
at heart, at thought
thousands of miles from home
the 'Dear John' letter at hand
his eyes...
filled with watery tears
his thoughts...
wishing it were a nightmare
Alone the soldier is...
lying in his grave
in a dark cold casket
her picture at hand
his eyes....
see no more pain
his heart...
feels no more grief

Anthony Scott

The poem "Alone the Soldier Is..." follows a soldier through all the torments of war. In the begining the soldier is lost in memories of home and his significant other. As time goes on the soldier loses his heart because his wife/girlfriend has sent him a 'Dear John' letter. Many soldiers are affected by the people outside of war. Times change and hearts grow apart. Soldiers lose the ones they love without the use of guns and bullets, but of time and distance.


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War crimes almost seem like an oxymoron. Isn't it a crime to kill another human being? It's sad to hear that people are STILL being arrested for crimes they've committed almost 10 years ago. War crimes usually consist of demeaning human life by humiliation or by brutal torture. Finally the authorities have captured the alleged 'Monster of Grbavica'. This man was a soldier in the Bosnian war who has committed crimes against humanity by means of rape, torture and murder.

Summary of Book
S. is a story that follows a woman from Sarajevo. S. is catapulted into a world of misery when she enters an "exchange camp". She realizes then that the war is all around her, and that humanity can be dark and cruel. She deals with the torture and humiliation of human life. She then learns the truth about the rumored "Woman's Room" and what evils dwell there as well.

You do a nice job summing up your texts, especially A Long Way Gone and S., but where is your overall summary and analysis of this topic? How does your definition of what it means to be a soldier change when you take into account the different points of view shown through each of your books as well as the perspectives demonstrated through everything else you have added to this page?