A friend of mine was recently recounting his enlistment as a Marine back in the early ’60s, and his subsequent assignment to South Vietnam. His tour came back in the early days, before most people had ever heard of the place.
Why did you enlist, I asked him.
“Well, I had always wanted to be an ex-Marine,” he said, “and as far as I could figure, there was only one way to do that….”
To mark Veterans Day, here’s a damn fine photo essay by the Denver Post, documenting the transformation of a gawky local kid fresh out of high school into an Iraq war veteran who comes home confident enough to step into early adulthood. It’s a beautiful, largely unvarnished peek into a journey that tens of thousands of young Americans take every year.