From: Carpe Diem – By Michael Sullivan
Like most kids my age, growing up in the era following World War II, I played soldiers and cowboys. The inspiration for the gun and rock battles we waged in a vacant lot down the street came from the entertainment media and the general consciousness of the time: The U.S. had won World War II, cowboys had vanquished villains in the Old West, and Communism lurked out there as another thing to be conquered.
At school we were taught to duck under our flimsy wooden desks in the case of a Communist atomic bomb attack. After all, we were already fighting Commies in Korea. The thread of nuclear war seemed very real.
The idea of stopping a bullet in defense of my country seemed noble and heroic, something any red-blooded American boy was expected to do. I imagined the pride and sadness my parents would feel at the sight of my flag-draped coffin. Much of my world view at the time centered upon ideas of duty. My parents, my teachers and my country expected certain things of me. I had no choice.
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