Joshua Marcellino

The Book of Man

The next entry is a profile on Joshua Marcellino, and is here to show us that war, no matter how necessary, is still a horrible event which can have a profound effect on the people experiencing it.

Joshua saw action in Iraq. He tells us of the boredom that accompanies the near-constant threat. You never know who or where or when the enemy will strike. This part of the stress of war is usually understood by outsiders, but the stress of boredom and constant vigilance is rarely understood. Particularly as it affects Marines, who are trained to be do-ers – sitting by idly is not something they do well.

He speaks of lost innocence, and of having to fight against the innate compulsion to protect the innocent. Those on the other side of the battle lines didn’t have the same respect for human life and would use even children as means to deliver bombs. If you tried to save one of these little ones, it could well cost you your life.

He notes that even though the situation is awful, it can still be a place which nurtures faith, as “each day you realized God is in control of every second,” and “when you’re in combat, you see prayer answered.” It’s comforting to know that God has a plan, despite and through the horrors. Without faith, it is easy to despair.

Re-acclimation to civilian life is difficult as people try to understand what you went through. Sometimes, there are just no words to describe it and frustration sets in. How do you explain something which you don’t fully understand yourself? How do you cope with helplessness, when all you’ve ever strived to be in your life has been the opposite of helpless? He describes how previous wars have fostered a sense of brotherhood amongst the soldiers, whereas this war, to an extent, encourages detachment and isolation. You almost have to harden your heart to caring too much, for you never know if tomorrow your coworker, your friend, might die – and you’ll still have to continue the fight without any time to grieve.

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