They carried the necessities: canteens, rations, lighters, candy, cigarettes, rifles, love letters, and dog tags. They carried these things with them all through the war. They carried them close, sometimes weighing heavy on their hearts. They saw their friends die right in front of them. They had close experiences with death. The dead never truly stop looking dead. They reenact the good times they had before, during, and even after the war. They played not-so-practical jokes on each other. They spent time in other cultures. They can't explain it to their children, they'll never grasp the horrors of the war. They can't explain it to their wives, or mothers, or fathers, no one will every understand except the ones who lived to tell the experience themselves. Recollections only go so far, but Tim O'Brien wrote an amazing work of fiction with many factual references. By far one of the best collections of short stories I have ever gotten my hands on.
Tim O'Brien, you truly captured the Vietnam War in a way that many people will never be able to grasp.