Gurney. Tiny. Pig Pen. I remember them all.

No. No. I’ll pretend none of that ever happened. I can wish Jimmy alive and that we stayed friends and that the way I met his pretty sister was when he introduced us at his wedding. It was high on a hill, with a little church, where the pastures below were green and everyone danced and drank, and his name didn’t end up on the black granite wall in D.C. The wall full of nightmares, where everyone comes to grieve.

Hodges was wounded and Recon and Happy and Doc, too. I don’t know what happened to any of them. But I saw them bleeding as we helped them to the chopper. Charlie Young took a round through the throat like Gurney and shrapnel ripped through Bo’s head. Bob was shot four times. Today he walks with a limp and has a useless arm, and a slew of grandchildren. We were best friends during the war, and I tied his shattered forearm together with my sock.

One night our squad was set in a village overlooking a graveyard, when we were attacked. Corporal Swan ran shirtless outside of a grass hut and took one round through the heart. I heard him say, “Oh my God,” as he fell. If he had lived, would he have come home damaged inside, the way some did and still do? I won’t imagine that.