The Fading Memories Of War

Iraq War veteran Brandon Friedman, author of The War I Always Wantedmarks the anniversary of the war:

This week, when I tried to remember the day we invaded, I couldn’t remember if it had been the 19th, the 20th, or the 21st. When I tried to think of the date we sustained our first killed in action in July 2003, I couldn’t remember that with any certainty, either. And when I tried to recall everyone I knew personally who’d been killed in the last decade, I came up with a list of half a dozen guys. But I wasn’t sure if it was everyone.

These are dates and names I once told myself I would never forget.

Most of my war stories now sit on the shelf in my living room, locked in a 256-page time capsule that I never open. Writing about the war was cathartic and served its purpose. I don’t really go there anymore. I don’t have to. The memories are trapped on the pages, like wasps in a jar.