'Tangible Slivers of History'

That's how Alex Horton, an Army Iraq veteran and one of the official Veterans Affairs Department bloggers, described the importance of veterans passing on stories of their war experiences in a masterful and funny essay on the Time website last week.

Brandon Friedman, an Army Afghanistan and Iraq veteran and director of online communications at VA and another official blogger on the department's VAntage Point blog, had his own tale to tell in a wistful piece in The New York Times last week on the announcement of the end of military mail service to Iraq.

Though President Obama had announced the end of the war weeks earlier, to Friedman, the end of military mail service to that country was palpable, because "I was there when the mail started." To him, the end of the mail really meant the end of the war.

As Horton wrote in Time, "Stories and recollections are at the foundation of our social existence," and the tales he and Friedman tell are often the only connection between the 1 percent who serve and the 99 percent who don't.

Keep telling the stories guys (and gals), we need them.

And, someday, I will relate the tale of the World War II anti-aircraft searchlight that I ended up owning and operating as a young Marine in Vietnam. The best war stories have a bit of the absurd about them.

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