Learning To Love You More




Assignment #59
Interview someone who has experienced war.

Seattle, Washington USA



Ashton on Vietnam.
I work as a social worker for a housing non-profit in Seattle. One afternoon I was taking a tenant shopping. I find riding in a car together, in an enclosed place, sets the stage for conversations that normally wouldn't take place. I knew that Ashton was an immigrant, and had spent 6 years in the military and an unknown amount of time in Vietnam. One would never guess from his demeanor. He is unabashedly positive, upbeat, and optimistic. I wasn't planning for the subject of war to come up, and cannot write the conversation verbatim, but it went like the following...
Ashton was firing at "enemy: troops, and was partnered w/another man, Beck, I believe. The plan was for Beck to roll on the ground to his left, and Ashton was to cover him, and then vice versa, but Ashton was rolling to the right. When Aston rolled, he was calling to Beck, but the noise of gunfire drowned out his calls. He felt something hit his side, but didn't look down; kept firing. What Ashton felt were Beck's brains smattering against him. Ashton reflected upon this, as if it had occurred only a short time ago.
When I asked about the adjustment back to life in the States, Ashton said he spent years in therapy, and treatment of all sorts, but none of it can erase the visceral visual image that is ingrained in his memory. Something he took from the war is life; Ashton emanates life and wants to live. He says when his time comes; he will be dragged tooth and nail from this life.