War Came with a Curse and a Caterwaul

Why am I such a war junkie?  I mean, I love reading about war and watching war miniseries and movies.  To prove it to you: over my spring break, I am simultaneoulsy: 1) reading Generation Kill by Evan Wright; 2) watching the premiere episode of The Pacific; and 3) re-watching Stargate SG-1.

This fascination that I have with war has been forming since I was a wee lass.  When I was young, all the kids on my block would band together to build extensive forts and have water wars.  In the 8th grade when we were assigned a book report that had to do with the Holocaust, I read Band of Brothers (and, yes, I’m aware that the Holocaust is only obliquely mentioned).  I think I’ve seen that series seven or so times, the first time when I was just 11.  I love to delve into Catch-22 and Slaughterhouse-5 on a free afternoon (the latter of which my mom made me wait until I was in high school to read).  In the 6th grade I breezed through When My Name was Keoko as well as Virtual War (sorry for screwing up your lesson plan, teach). My favorite book to read for AP Euro was The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, but Machiavelli wasn’t bad, either.  My favorite tv show is Stargate SG-1, and while it’s sci-fi, it’s based on a faction of the US Air Force (whose wars just happen to be intergalactic).  I can watch Saving Private Ryan or The Patriot any day of the week.  My most recent find is HBO’s recently premiered The Pacific. Last year my obsession was Generation Kill – an HBO adapted miniseries about a humvee recon marine division serving in the invasion of the Iraq war in 2003.  I can’t sing enough praises for it – Alexander Skarsgard’s in it! They sing Avril Lavigne (in a sarcastic yet endearing way)! It’s on HBO!

As I said, this education of war began when I was young – from stories of my grandpa’s experience as part of the Army Corps of Engineers serving in the Pacific Theatre during WWII to my dad’s Civil War obsession. There’s been many a car trip during which we would stop at a battlefield.  Jeesh, on our trip to visit DC colleges my dad and I hit Harper’s Ferry, Antietem, and Gettysburg within the span of 4 days. But don’t think that I’m complaining – I love it. The picture in my header is one that I took with a pinhole camera overlooking Gettysburg during that trip last summer.  I love all kinds of war situations:  the Civil War, the French Revolution, WWII, WWI to an extent, the Spanish American War (here’s looking at you TR), the Revolutionary War, 100 Years War, 7 Years War, our most recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, etc.  Even the Falklands’ War is interesting, when you hear Ricky Gervais spin it. And now I’m thinking that maybe I’ll have even more interaction with war when I’m older. I don’t think I’ll be enlisting, but if I continue with Arabic and can put those skills to use, I’ll be proud to help – even with all of Anne’s comments that war, real war, is nothing like what I’m used to being exposed to. I’m smart enough to know that a lot of what I’ve been introduced to is fictionalized, aggrandized and largely Hollywood-esque. But that doesn’t stop my fascination with war. And besides, I’ve got plenty of time to decide what will happen with my future.

Here’s one of my favorite bands playing a song about the Civil War:


One thought on “War Came with a Curse and a Caterwaul

  1. Larry Kasperek says:

    Your dad has studied the Civil War since the early 1960’s, I was ten-ish. It was the Civil War Centennial. I don’t remember what our summer vacation destination was, but I do remember stopping at Manassas Battlefield. My sister and I wandered away from the visitors center. We walked up a small rise. As we topped the crest, we were confronted by at least 1,000 Confederate soldiers (Virginia national guard unit as I later learned) advancing up the hill in perfect line. They were practicing for the re-enactment of the battle of 2nd Manassas. I may have wet my pants. From then on, I’ve been hooked on that war.

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