Back from War, but Not Really Home

Please read this op-ed piece from the New York Times  and then respond here.   I am not going to provide any parameters for our conversation.  Let’s see where this takes you.

As always, check your writing for grammar, spelling, and punctuation.  Please also respond to at least one comment in this thread.

Mythology blog #5

50 thoughts on “Back from War, but Not Really Home

  1. In the New York Times article, “Back From War, but Not Really Home,” Caroline Alexander highlights the effects of returning home from war, as well as incorporating the Odyssey in her explanation. Starting off, she talks of how soldiers returning home experience a “sense of dislocation.” The soldiers who are lucky enough to survive still don’t really feel at home after being away for so long. Alexander relates this feeling to Odysseus, who did not even recognize his homeland. “But it is ‘The Odyssey’ that most directly probes the theme of the war veteran’s return… Odysseus returns home to a place he does not recognize, and then finds his homestead overrun with young men who have no experience of war.” Alexander also points out that our concept of Veteran’s Day is really no more than the celebration of survival. Those who had survived got to return home, but what else do they gain? They no longer feel like they are at home, and like Alexander also points out, veterans are more difficult to honor. A soldier who has died in battle will always be remembered, but a survivor that has grown old will fade from memory. The commemorative rites usually stop at their deaths. “Time-tested and time-honored, the commemoration rites we observe each Memorial Day represent a satisfying formula of remembrance by the living for the dead that was already referred to as “ancient custom” by Thucydides in the fifth century B.C.” This might bring up the question: If you were a soldier out in a war, would you prefer to die with honor and glory, or survive and feel left and misplaced?

    • Good response, Tony! It is so true that the author did a great job of finding ways to incorporate “The Odyssey” into the article. To answer your question at the end, I would rather return home from battle, because After all those years in battle, I would need to see my family, and at that point the honor I receive wouldn’t even matter. I would be with my family, like Odysseus.

  2. In the New York Times article “ Back From War, but Not Really Home”, the author, Caroline Alexander talks about how soldiers feel out of place when they arrive at home, and adds in the Odyssey to her article to further support her claim. According to the article, one veteran went on a shooting rampage when he had just returned from Afghanistan. She ties this in with Odysseus, who, once he had returned, did not know anything around him. “But now brilliant Odysseus awoke from sleep in his own fatherland, and he did not know it,having been long away.” This shows the uncomfortable feeling that about every returning warrior/soldier has had. Also, she talks about how Veteran’s Day is just to celebrate the survival of the returning soldiers, who were just lucky enough to return home. But when they arrived home, they felt as they were out of place or not at home. Caroline Alexander calls Veteran’s Day one of the most awkward holidays ever, since veterans are hard to celebrate, since they have survived. The people who died in war, however, would be remembered.

  3. “Back From War, but Not Really Home,” Is a great piece by the New York Times. The article’s claim is that soldiers who die on the battle field are the ones who are seen as the hero, but many people forget to acknowledge the soldiers who survive, and come home. This claim was compared to “The Odyssey,” where Achilles is honored for dying in battle, while Odysseus returns home. In “The Iliad,” Achilles was presented with two choices, to be a hero, or to return home. “Achilles must choose between kleos or nostos — glory or a safe return home. By dying at Troy, Achilles was assured of undying fame as the greatest of all heroes.” Achilles made this choice to go down in history as a hero, and that meant sacrificing his life. This shows that Achilles believes that dying on the battle field is more honorably than returning home. Odysseus, however, returned home to his wife and son. He did not die for his country, but he did serve in the war, and he survived. Not only that, but it took him 20 years to return. I absolutely love when writers bring up an important issue in current times, or an event, and they compare it to something they learned in school, or something we are learning. The writer shows the relevance of an old piece of literature, and in a way, they encourage people to read. Literature really enhances our understanding of the modern world, no matter how old the text is.

  4. The article we have read about is all about being a veteran. A life of a veteran would be difficult, for three reasons, one thought of myself. First, like in the article, when they return to their so-called home, it seems that the world has moved without them. They feel that they are alien to their own home as if they no longer belonged, which lead to the next reason. When a veteran returns from war, there would be many who have suffered through severe damage, but managed to survive. Some injuries seem so horrible to viewers that it made the veteran feel as if being alive was a curse, like in the book Johny Got His Gun where he feels so utterly useless in a moving world. Last of all, like what the article has said, survivors usually do not get as much attention as brave warriors who have died in vain. They are honored, while survivors who dies after the war does not get as much honor. When Achilles chose, he chose to die bravely and because of that was given fame for centuries to come. Within reasons like these, I can say that there would be some soldiers who believe it would have been better to die in vain than keep living on as an average person.

  5. In the Back From War, but Not Really Home article, we read from the New York times, it discusses veterans and what they go through. From the past with Odysseus to today, veterans go through a lot of the same things and feelings. Odysseus was forced to leave his family for 20 years and when he finally got back, everything was different than how he had left it. His family had grown, so had he and he was a changed man than the one he had left as. This is the same as it goes today. People leave their lives and their families to fight for their country and for people that they haven’t ever met. They go into the unknown, keeping in their mind that they may not make it back and they defend whoever they can. One point in the article that was interesting was when it talked about nostalgia. Whether you lived at the time of Odysseus or in the 21st century, you still go through the pain of missing the better safer days, and the people that filled those days if you are away from them. And soldiers go through that every time they have to leave their past behind. This article was really eye opening because no matter how much time has passed, people are still out fighting and coming back to a world that is different then how they left it.

    • I agree with the points you made. It is dishearting to see the way we treat veterans in this country and in other countries.

      • Ryan, I really like your comparison of Odysseus’ return home and today’s veteran’s return, and how you analyze what the author meant by nostalgia being a major part of war. Keep up the great work!

  6. In the Op-Ed piece, “Back From War, But Not Really Home” on the New York Times, the author tells of how the old myths of the Iliad and the Odyssey relate to today. She does so by highlighting the experience of coming home for soldiers and the effects it has on their life. She also manages to compare soldiers coming home from battle to great heroes, like Odysseus. She first talks of Odysseus, when he finally returns home, after such a long and cruel voyage. She says, “Washed onto the shores of his island home, after 10 years’ absence in a foreign war and 10 years of hard travel in foreign lands, Odysseus, literature’s most famous veteran, stares around him… That sense of dislocation has been shared by veterans returning from the field of war.” The author goes in to examine how Odysseus did not recognize his homeland at first as he had been gone so long. She points out that this is much the same for many U.S, veterans returning from battle, who are often overlooked or forgotten by their countrymen. I think this is an interesting and valuable point brought up by the author. She seems to be wanting to say that we can do more as Americans to help our returning veterans. The author then tackle the topic of Veteran’s Day, saying it is, “our most awkward holiday.” It is easier to celebrate those who have lost their lives fighting for their country than those who managed to survive. The author then delves into one of my favorite points of the article-military commemoration. She says that those who fight in previous wars are often forgotten, such as in Vietnam, or Korea. This, she compares to Nestor of the Iliad, who was telling of the deeds of the Trojan War, and making sure it was never forgotten. Overall, I found this article very interesting. It brought up some interesting points, as well as connections to the ancient myths that I never would have put together. I found the central message to be very important-to never forget or leave behind a veteran or what they fought for.

  7. The article “Back From War, but Not Really Home” by Caroline Alexander put returning veterans into a new perspective. When these remarkable citizens return from war, they come back to a land that they don’t recognize and that doesn’t recognize them. When Odysseus returned from the Trojan War, “Odysseus awoke from sleep in his own fatherland, and he did not know it,/having been long away.” Veterans feel the same pain Odysseus felt when returning. While their fallen comrades receive recognition and commemoration. “Veteran’s Day” which was created to commemorate the ending of world war one, but now honors all veterans has had spectators steadily decreasing as the holiday becomes more awkward. Alexander clearly pities the veterans who have done so much, but lack recognition. When Veterans return home they have few people to relate to. This fact is included in the Odyssey when Odysseus returns home to many young men who don’t understand the hardships of war. Having no-one understand you are harsh and Odysseus is traumatized by the events he witnessed, similar to many other veterans. Many Veterans with PTSD (Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder) go to a military psychiatrist. The amount of stress and distress that veterans were feeling was demonstrated when a military psychiatrist went on a shooting rampage. After all, veterans have done for our country you would think they would be respected in the country they return to?

  8. In the article Back From War, but Not Really Home, we see how those who return from war are still alienated.“But now brilliant Odysseus awoke from sleep in his own fatherland, and he did not know it,/having been long away.” Additionally, the goddess Athena has cast an obscuring mist over all the familiar landmarks, making “everything look otherwise/than it was.” “Ah me,” groans Odysseus, “what are the people whose land I have come to this time?” This is the final tragic effect of war. We see how a veteran who barely even able to recognize his home country is hard to celebrate. This has brought me to think about how we commemorate these soldiers. There are so many stories, we cannot listen to all of them and care at the same time. We instead choose to ignore them. We pay them respect, but only on one day of the entire year. For most, Veterans Day is simply a break from school and work, a day off. Some people don’t know the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day. In the same way, people are treating returned veterans in the same way they treat those who have passed. They pay their respect and then no longer think about them. In this world, veterans are expected to complete the impossible task of returning to a normal life.

  9. In the Opinion article, “Back from War, But Not Really Home”, the author Caroline Alexander compares certain parts of the Iliad to men and women coming back from the military fighting for our country. It says, “washed onto the shores of his island home, after 10 years’ absence in a foreign war and 10 years of hard travel in foreign lands…” Odysseus comes back to his homeland after 10 years of being tortured by Poseidon and after 10 years of war. All Odysseus wants to do is go back home, kiss his wife and see his grown up son. It’s sad that he missed all of his sons life, mostly because of a war, and mythologically by a god’s anger. This relates to militants today. Men and women go out for deployment for 1-3 months (atleast) at a time. They go to dangerous places, like Afghanistan and Iraq, where war levels and violence levels are very high. On the other hand, those men and women out for deployment are fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, etc. At home, their significant other or loved one goes to bed worrying for their other. Men and women in the military are respected and revered for the courage, dedication, and resilience they have fighting for our country. Although, some of Odysseus’ story is not realistic, he also is a very brave and brilliant man who fights for his country.

  10. In the Op-ed piece, “Back From War, But Not Really Home,” on the New York Times, the stories of the Iliad and Odyssey are related to today. The author explains the experience that soldiers have while returning home from battles that are oftentimes very dangerous, and lengthy. She relates this to the story of Odysseus by discussing, Odysseus’s return home, after a long and cruel voyage. Odysseus was forced to leave his family for 20 years and when he finally got back, everything was different than how he had left it. Odysseus didn’t even recognize his homeland at first as he had been gone so long. This is much the same for many U.S veterans returning home from war, who are often overlooked or forgotten by their countrymen. Next, the author begins to discuss “our most awkward holiday,” Veterans Day. The author suggests that it is easier to celebrate those who have lost their lives fighting for their country than those who managed to survive. This is compared to Nestor of the Iliad, who was speaking of the deeds of the Trojan War, to make sure it was never forgotten. After reading this, I have realized that this is very true that survivors are often forgotten. I agree with the author that we should do more to commemorate soldiers that have survived in war. Furthermore, this article was very interesting and included many connections to the Iliad and Odyssey. This article further helped me realize that we should never forget a soldier that served our country.

    • Great blog! I agree with what you said. We should do more to commemorate and honor those who have survived in war. I also like how you compared the heroes from ancient times to veterans today. Keep up the great work. 🙂

  11. In the New York Times newspaper Op-ed piece “Back From War, but Not Really Home.” The author alludes to “The Odyssey” for celebrating veterans. The warriors were put in high esteem in “The Illiad” and “The Odyssey”, and Old Nestor, a warrior that has seen many different campaigns, always told stories of the brave heroes he fought with and fought against. Odysseus was used as an example of how people should appreciate all that the warriors do for our country, risking their lives several times over so people they do not even know could live normal lives. The author also talks about how many people celebrate warriors who have passed away, more than the living ones. There are more ways to honor those who have given their lives to save us, for example, going to Graves and parades, and honoring people that have been in the armed forces in your family. She also talks about how the living aspect of our veterans are mostly looked over when talking about Veterans Day. Making “The Odyssey” and example of that is genius idea. I love the way she made a spin on using the evidence of all these warriors in the story. I would do the same if I was making an essay on the epic poems. Overall, I think this is a great topic and should be discussed more In class, the themes and motifs of these two great epic poems.

  12. In the op-ed piece from New York Times, “Back From Home, but Not Really Home”, the author, Caroline Alexander, discusses how soldiers feel when they come back from war and in this, she incorporated her interpretation of the Odyssey. In the Odyssey, Odysseus comes back home after 20 years. In these 20 years a lot of things happened, such as first steps, birthdays, holidays, and much more. Being away for these things are hard but while he is away, he creates something like a new family, a bond between everyone who was going through what he is. The author adds, “In practice, Nov. 11 is clouded with ambiguous symbolism, and has become our most awkward holiday”. By saying this, she is showing how we commemorate these events but we don’t realize the meaning behind it because we weren’t there. Although, the soldiers of our nation do know what it is like because they were there and it could’ve been them. This relates to the two book, Hamilton and Bulfinch, where it says we can’t exactly put our finger on the thing they are explaining because we don’t know how it feels. Anyways, while the author talked about the Odyssey, she says, “His choice reflects an uneasy awareness that it is far easier to honor the dead soldiers than the soldiers who return”. This explains how it is easier to forget about the people to return then the people that are dead. The soldiers/warriors that return went through the same things that those who died did but they kept trying which is easy for others to forget. We commemorate the dead but when it comes to those who are still alive, forget to make them feel welcomed and like they belong. To conclude, the author refers her journey to the one Odysseus was on and explains how it feels to come back from fighting in battles.

  13. The article “Back From War, but Not Really Home” made me realize how relevant The Odyssey is today. Veterans today return home from a long and hard time at war just like how Odysseus came home after the Trojan War. The Odyssey is strikingly similar to life today. Obviously not in the sense of a journey home filled with the wrath of gods, goddesses, monsters, and sorcerers. Rather, in the sense that after a long time at war, it is hard to recognize home upon returning. So many things change when you are gone. “But it is ‘The Odyssey’ that most directly probes the theme of the war veteran’s return. Threaded through this fairytale saga, amid its historic touchstones, are remarkable scenes addressing aspects of the war veteran’s experience that are disconcertingly familiar to our own age. Odysseus returns home to a place he does not recognize, and then finds his homestead overrun with young men who have no experience of war. Throughout his long voyage back, he has reacted to each stranger with elaborate caginess, concocting stories about who he is and what he has seen and done — the real war he keeps to himself.” The article also brings up another interesting point. “In ‘The Iliad,’ Achilles must choose between kleos or nostos — glory or a safe return home. By dying at Troy, Achilles was assured of undying fame as the greatest of all heroes. His choice reflects an uneasy awareness that it is far easier to honor the dead soldier than the soldier who returns.” N.H. Holderness (The author of the article) is saying that you are remembered and honored and venerated more if you were to die in battle rather than escape home safely. I suppose that from a certain point of view, that could be defended. If you died in battle then you gave it your best to do your duty to your home. If you made it out alive then you were a coward who couldn’t face death. But I disagree with this statement. I believe that whether you died or not you should be honored for your services equally. The dead man and the living both di their service, it’s just that one managed to escape death in the process. To summarize, the article “Back From War, but Not Really Home” brought up some interesting points about how Homer’s epics relate to today.

  14. In the online article, the author compares the life and experience of a modern soldier to the story of Odysseus. Alexander states that when a soldier comes back from war, they come back to a home that they do not remember. They don’t feel right in their hometown, and don’t think that they belong there anymore. This feeling is similarly shown in Odysseus, who also feels that he doesn’t recognize his hometown when he gets back from his journey. Many men that he does not know have invaded his home, and he just doesn’t feel right standing in his own house. Another thing that is commonly shared between Odysseus and modern-day soldiers are that they have missed all sorts of important dates and holidays. Their families have celebrated birthdays and had fun together without them, and these soldiers have missed all of those meaningful moments. They were not able to fully enjoy their child’s youth, and saw them grow up without them having a hand in their development. Odysseus feels the same way, as he had been gone for over 20 years. When Odysseus left, his child was only a little boy. But, when he came back, his son was a grown man with his own life, and Odysseus missed his whole childhood. This article compares Odysseus’s journey and feelings with those of the modern-day soldier, and lets us know that these feelings of coming back from war never change, and have always been the same.

  15. In the article, the authors talks about how soldiers feel misplaced when returning home from war. She does this by comparing the story of the Odyssey. In the Odyssey, Odysseus returns from the Trojan War, and when he returns, he doesn’t recognize his home. Even though Odysseus didn’t want to leave his home, his wife, and his child in the first place, he feels dislocated when he returns. This is much like the feelings modern day soldiers get from returning to war. They missed so much of their life due to the war, that when they return home, they feel alone, misplaced, and have trouble feeling at home and comfortable with his surroundings. The author also talks about how all the soldiers that fought in the war, and died, are remembered. However, most of the time, soldiers that fought, and survived, are not acknowledged as much. That makes me wonder if dying in war is better than feeling misplaced and less remembered when returning home from war.

  16. Back Home From War, But Not Really Home describes the story of Odysseus’s journey home from the Trojan war, while comparing the life of veterans today after their long hard fight. The author makes a point of saying that people think of the people who died on the battlefield as heroes, but not thinking about the men who survived and have to live with the memories of war. “Odysseus returns home to a place he does not recognize, and then finds his homestead overrun with young men who have no experience of war. Throughout his long voyage back, he has reacted to each stranger with elaborate caginess, concocting stories about who he is and what he has seen and done — the real war he keeps to himself.” This quote from the text shows how Odysseus made it back home, but he will never be the same after what he has experienced. My Pop Pop was in the army fighting in Vietnam when he was only 19 years old, and I can only imagine the hardship he faced in his time in the service. He is very proud to be a veteran, and always wears his veteran’s hat and displays pictures from his time in the army. However, he never really talks about his actual experiences fighting. War is a horrible, sad thing, and he probably can’t forget those memories. I feel like veterans have experienced something most people have not, and that makes them sort of alienated from society, which is how Odysseus felt. The article also mentioned that the men who died in battle are commemorated more than the survivors. “The commemoration of the veteran — the survivor who did not fall on the field of war — is less starkly defined. The returned soldier, it is hoped, will grow old and die among us, like Nestor, in whose time ‘two generations of mortal men had perished.’” This is not right because the living soldiers fought just as hard as the killed soldiers, and everyone should be commemorated. All in all, I personally related to this article, and I love all the points it made.

  17. After reading “Back From War, But Not Really Home” two ideas stuck with me, both concerning veterans returning home. The first thing that stuck with me is the feeling that veterans have when they get home. It doesn’t really feel like home anymore. They are so used to being without family and working hard to protect our country every day that it is hard to adjust to coming back home. The author intertwines ideas from the Odyssey by showing how Odysseus felt the same way that soldiers fell now. Odysseus had to leave his family for 20 years. We see how he missed his kids childhood and their growing up. One thing that we don’t see is how the kids felt not having a father for all those years which I think would be interesting. “But it is ‘The Odyssey’ that most directly probes the theme of the war veterans return… Odysseus returns home to a place he does not recognize, and then finds his homestead overrun with young men who have no experience of war.” The second thing that stuck out to me was how the author felt about soldiers that have died, versus soldiers who return home. She feels that veterans that have died are more honored than those who survive. “Time-tested and time-honored, the commemoration rites we observe each Memorial Day represent a satisfying formula of remembrance by the living for the dead that was already referred to as ‘ancient custom’ by Thucydides in the fifth century B.C.” I saw that some of our classmates were asking if soldiers would rather die in battle and be remembered or return home but get little to no commermorance. Personally I think that we do honor those who survived, and even if you think we don’t, soldiers don’t fight for our country for glory. They fight because it is what they feel is right. Overall I think the article was good and it really tied the Odyssey to current life well.

  18. Over the weekends, we read the article, “Back From War, but Not Really Home” by Caroline Alexander. One of the interesting things that she mentioned in her article was the topic of fame vs home. “In ‘The Iliad,’ Achilles must choose between kleos or nostos -glory or a safe return home. By dying at Troy, Achilles was assured of undying fame as the greatest of all heroes.” Achilles chose fame over his safety of returning home. Achilles didn’t have anything to live for after his friend/lover died, but that brings up the question of, when did Achilles choose to die and have fame? Did he do it before or after Patroclus died? If he did it after it would have made sense, because his greatest friend died and Achilles was miserable. But if Achilles made his choice before his friend died, that wouldn’t make as much sense. Achilles would have had a lover/friend to hang out with and love. Achilles would have also been honored as one of the heroes of Troy. Not as honored as he would have been if he had died, but at least he would have been with his friend and battle companions rather than dying and never seeing them again.

  19. The article Back From War, but not Really Home by Caroline Alexander discussed some interesting ideas about veterans vs war heroes, and home we treat those who served our country and lived and how we treat those who died for our country. She discusses the idea that fallen heroes of war get more recognition than the vets who returned home to their families. Those who died receive more acclaim than those who do not, even though they both served very bravely and fought for a great cause. A lot of vets that continue to live on face the hardship of returning home. They feel dislocated, as she says in the article. They return to a home they don’t recognize, but everyone expects them to. The battlegrounds were there homes for a while to it’s hard to assimilate into your old life, but everybody expects it to be easy to readjust. You go from sleeping in tents to your old home and it most likely feels like being a guest in your own home, which makes for an uncomfortable situation. For Odysseus he couldn’t even recognize the place they call home. For vets who return they have to suffer returning home and feeling out of place where they grew up and feeling out of place in their families. They might even see their family as strangers if it’s been awhile. They have so much more to lose.

  20. This article proved a few things. One thing is that we don’t appreciate the veterans that lived and returned home. We have a memorial day for the ones that passed away but what do we do for the ones that lived. Another thing it proved is that when soldiers return home it doesn’t feel like home. It may feel like a foreign place. They don’t remember how things were or things changed. This makes it hard for many returning vets to adapt back to normal life. And lastly, it proves that Greek Mythology can relate back to things today. Odyessus returned home and didn’t even know it. It looked so unfamiliar with being away for so long. Today there are soldiers that come home and don’t recognize their old life. They were in the Army so long that became their home. Odysseus was away for so long he no longer knew a home. Greek Mythology is so important because it can teach us about things happening today. Once you read it you can use those lessons in real life.

  21. The article, “Back From War but Not Really Home” is the kind of article that helps you put your thoughts together. This article is all about the returning veteran, and how they feel/how we feel about them. And after I tea the article and thought about it, j was thinking that the article didn’t really do anything except solidify the thoughts I already had. If you have met a veteran and it felt Kim of awkward then you will understand what I mean. After reading the article I realized that this was something that I have felt, I just didn’t relize it. A veteran who returns home is sometimes less fortunate than the veteran who doesn’t. The returning veteran sometimes is perfectly normal, or there are many things that can limit a returning veteran both metal and physical. At least if you died on the field you wouldn’t have to suffer the way that some veterans do, and if you believe in god and eternal life in heaven, then you are doing even better. Life as a veteran can e hard, and most of us probably knew this, and may have even witnessed this. If you come back, everything would he changed, and there won’t be much left that you remember. But if you don’t come back, then you will never witness the change. Returning or not returning is difficult and this article does a great job describing that.

  22. In the New York Times Op-Ed article, “Back From War, but Not Really Home,” Caroline Alexander delves into the differences and similarities between the heroes of old myths and the veterans of modern wars. A part of the article that I found striking was when the author mentioned nostalgia, and how it plays a large role in the return of a soldier. Connected to this thought is the part of the Odyssey that deals with Odysseus’ journey to Hades, where he is reunited with his fellow soldiers. “There, among the thronging souls of men and women dead and past, he confronted his comrades of the war — Agamemnon, Achilles, Patroclus, Antilochus and Ajax — robust heroes of epic tales now reduced to unhappy shades who haunt his story.” This is so interesting to me because one may think that for a soldier to meet with his fallen friends once again would be a happy, nostalgic event. However, in the way that it is described here, it sounds more of a melancholy, almost ominous thing. I would think that this is because with feelings of nostalgia come feelings of regret and guilt, especially in the case of losing a friend during battle. Alexander describes Odysseus’ thoughts of his friends dying as “haunting.” I believe that this is because he had feelings of guilt, since he survived and they didn’t. A lot of the time, after the death of a loved one or a friend, one will feel guilty, even if it was absolutely impossible for the person’s death to be their fault in any way. The “haunting” friends of Odysseus will follow him forever, because he will always feel a small amount of guilt, even though he has no real reason to. This nostalgia and guilt is present in today’s veterans as well, as Alexander describes Veteran’s Day as “our most awkward holiday.” It is so awkward for us to celebrate this holiday because we ourselves feel guilty for being unsure of how to thank and honor those who have fallen. The living veterans feel a sense of guilt because they survived and so many didn’t. We do our best to commemorate the dead, by writing books, producing films, and telling stories, but we don’t ever know if it is enough for those who have given their lives to keep us safe.

  23. In the New York Times article “Back from War but Not Really Home” written by Caroline Alexander It is expressed how out of a place a soldier can be when they come back from war and how staying in war can affect and change their life for the long run. She does this by comparing soldiers stories to the Odyssey. Mainly comparing the feelings of dislocation to the soldiers returning home to how Odysseus felt when he couldn’t recognize his homeland. Odysseus and soldiers relate to each other in the sense that Soldiers get deployed for long periods of time while Odysseus was gone from his family for 20 years. It makes sense when they don’t recognize their homes because they have been surrounded by warfare and bloodshed for so long. Another point that was brought up in the article was the true meaning of Veterans Day where survival is celebrated more than the veterans themselves.

  24. In the New York Times article “back from war, but not really home”, many connections were made between the ancient stories of veterans and modern veterans, and shows how surprisingly similar the situations are. To begin, the author compares how Odysseus returned to his home, only to find that it was completely different from how he remembered it. Soldiers today may come home after being gone 10 years, and in that time see how their home had changed, identifying their nostalgia and hope for seeing their, old, familiar home town. The other main point the author makes is how people treat veterans and fallen soldiers differently. She points out that this is exactly what happens between Achilles and Odysseus. Achilles, having fallen, is remembered as a brace hero, while Odysseus, certainly fighting ad valiantly as Achilles, is pushed aside, and feels out of place wherever he goes. The same is how people gave more attention to remembrance day than Veterans day.

  25. After reading the article in the New York Times, it was interesting to hear Caroline Alexander’s thoughts on being honored as a soldier. “…kleos or nostos — glory or a safe return home.” It is clear that Odysseus prefers nostos, or a safe trip home. However, Caroline believes that those who obtain kleos, or glory, are the ones who die at Troy. Perhaps this is true, and all those who died at Troy died with honor and glory. However, is it safe to assume that without death on the field of battle, then there is no honor? That if a soldier is to return home safely, instead of dying among his comrades, that he is not deserving of glorification? Perhaps this is true. I mean, if the U.S went to war with a small nation and completely wiped them out, then there really is not any honor or glory in that. Perhaps with more death there is more glory, but if everyone dies, then there is none.

    I think it is clear that this is a topic of controversy, and that anyone can put on a helmet and have honor when they are on the winning side. However, the true honor is when you continue fighting when you do not know the outcome of the fight. It’s easy to be the bully and pick on smaller kids. But what happens when somebody stands up to the bully? That is where there is honor, when somebody fights back without knowing how it will turn out, but hoping for the best. I neither agree nor disagree with Caroline. In my views, there is no need to decide between honor and a safe trip home. Truly they can go hand in hand. What kind of hero would die at his first battle for honor, when there is more honor in fighting 20+ battles and living through all of them? Or perhaps that is a coward who refuses to put his life at stake for his country, and would rather be a bystander. All together, this is a very open discussion topic and there is much to talk about.

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