The essay explains the effect of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on soldiers who are returning home from active service. Price is a military man and has done tours in Kuwait where he was stationed in the war. He came back home after serving and had to adjust to a completely different life with what he had been accustomed to in the war. The memories about the war are in a constant fight with the reality he is living as he struggles to live life normally. This constant friction between the two different environments led to Price not digging a grave for his dog, Vicar.
At the battlefield, Price shot dogs intentionally through an operation called Operation Scooby. The dogs were left at the battlefield with no one to dig graves for them as Price, and his fellow soldiers were busy on the frontline searching for threats. When Price shot his dog, he was dragged back into the abyss of his post-traumatic stress disorder, where he thought he was still in the war. He had been accustomed to shooting dogs and leaving their carcasses; hence he was thinking of doing the same with his dog. This shows that Price was actually thinking of the operation Scooby, where they left bodies of dogs lying all over the place. Before shooting Vicar, his dog, he remembered an incident while in the war where he froze and didn’t shoot and was wondering if the same was going to happen at that time showing his resistance to change that he wasn’t a soldier at home and that he was making decisions which were associated with the war.
Price recalled vividly when his friend was shot by an insurgent while trying to climb over a fence. There is no mention of a burial for him, too, as they were at war. He remembers Fallujah, where three members of his platoon were killed. They were his compatriots in the battle, and they had come to trust each other. Price loved his dog and treated him as s friend till his death. This is figurative as Vicar can be seen as his friends who were killed in action and never got a proper burial. Price had come to an understanding that in war, a grave is not a most important feature in war; hence was not planning on digging a grave for a fallen soldier in his imaginary war; that is his dog.
Price valued his comrades he had served with more than his wife, Cheryl. He was glad to be home to be with his wife, but he wasn’t sure how he was supposed to react as he had grown accustomed to spending time with his comrades. At home, Price spends more time with his friends than Cheryl. They have small talks in the house just for the culture of the family unit, not that which is interactive. Price would rather go out to drink with his friend Weissert who had a hard time adjusting to life back home since his wife had left.
Price also wants to go back to war with his comrades as the ideas were what kept him going, not his wife. He feels safe when he has his comrades around him much more than the wife, for example, the event where he goes out shopping with his wife, and all he can think of is his time in deployment. Price even tries to wear a fake smile while with his wife to hide his true feelings, which were always drifting to the time he was in active service. Most of the time, while in the house, he thinks about his comrades more than his wife showing he cared for them more than his wife.
After Price and his comrades were at the reception with the family members waiting for them with one of them being Eicholtz’s father. Price froze when he saw his friend’s dad as he was not sure how he would react to the bad news he had regarding his son. Eicholtz had been killed in action by an insurgent while in deployment. His father had even brought a sign to show his love for his son’s dedication to defending America from terrorists. Eicholtz’s dad was in good spirits, greeting every marine he came across as he surged forward looking for his son. Price knew that he had the obligation of telling him about his son death as a friend, but he did not have the courage to do it. He had not been accustomed to having to be the bearer of bad news to bereaved families. He was a soldier, and that meant he had to bottle down his feelings while in the field. He ultimately walked away, choosing to leave his dead friend’s dad still for his son to show up.
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