By definition, the Vietnam War was a protracted military conflict between the Communist forces of North Vietnam supported by China and the Soviet Union and the non-Communist forces of South Vietnam supported by the United States. The war, however, transcended beyond a military conflict. The war traumatized all who participated and etched a gruesome image of death in all who knew of it atrociousness. In its chaotic form, Vietnam formed a unique association with love, fear, and lasting remembrance.
The Vietnam War gives birth to a striking epiphany that war is directly comparable to love. Without love in its sincerest form, war would be nonexistent, and without an utter determination to go to war and fight for the person you adore, true love would never be attained. Love, like war, is ambiguous. Love touches everyone who experiences its power in a different manner. Love and war are at times completely unsystematic, while at other times they lose their spontaneity and become routine. Some believe that through experiencing love or war, life finally takes meaning while others believe love and war make life absurd. Love and war are both sublime paradoxes. In The Things They Carried, Tim O Brien goes as far as to say, "War is hell, but that's not the half of it, because war is also mystery and terror and adventure and courage and discovery and holiness and pity and despair and longing and love." (O" Brien 80) In war, a soldier's proximity to death makes him at times more alive than ever before, and in life a person's proximity to heart ache makes him at times more aware of being in love than ever before. Love and war both have no boundaries, follow no set guidelines, and transform all those they come into contact with. In war, what happens to anyone happens to everyone. Tim O" Brien said it best, "You come over clean and you get dirty and then afterward it's never the same." (O"Brien, 114) All the right people are destroyed by war and all the wrong people are restored by it.