Life and Death Essay
In The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien each soldier was responsible for carrying various items. The specific things they carried were "partly a function of rank, partly of field specialty" (O'Brien 5)--things they needed in order to do the specific jobs they had as soldiers. While I was a soldier in Somalia I personally carried several items. A Kevlar helmet, Kevlar flak jacket, M16 rifle, ammunition vest with eight full loaded ammunition magazines, two canteens of water, and a medic bag weighing approximately twenty pounds. After a period of time items like this begin to weigh on a soldier, causing him to want to remove his helmet or rucksack, in an attempt to lessen the burden. Unfortunately for a soldier, it is the mental and personal baggage that they carry that becomes a part of them for life.
Uzelac, Todd, "Baggage (2008)" (2008). The Valpo Core Reader. 94.