The Wax Bullet War is not a story that relishes in scenes of drama and so-called action. On the contrary, Sean Davis’s account of the war in Iraq is shockingly realistic and enlightening. His memoir begins the day of reenlistment, traverses through the chaos of war, and relives the trauma of violence. There are no victories to glorify, no marks typical of the action thriller genre. The Wax Bullet War has another purpose—at its core is a story exemplifying acts of courage and compassion in a world of violence. In Davis’s words:
I don’t think the world needs another war story about a squad of men who fought against all odds and won, who rallied against near-impossible obstacles until the tear-jerking end, whose story could easily be made into a Hollywood blockbuster. Maybe if I write a book exposing my faults and how vulnerable, confused, and scared-as-shit I was throughout this time in my life, it can help someone (277).
As a writer, soldier, artist, and person, Davis is inspiring and his memoir profoundly moving. In the midst of tragedy he manages to persevere and find moments of hope, warmth, and humor. Sean’s story is a love letter to anyone who has been affected by the violence of war, whether a soldier, family member, or friend. His memoir is a wake-up call to a society where war is too often perceived as a simple matter of right and wrong, good and bad.
Davis leaves his readers not with closure but the possibility of finding new purpose after experiencing unspeakable events. He recalls that:
I wave and smile at people holding signs thanking me for my service, but this isn’t a happily-ever-after. The nightmares don’t go away. The physical injuries caused some permanent damage; the emotional injuries, too. The war changed me in many ways, but I did get through the toughest times. There were many times I didn’t think I would … The artist inside me did what the soldier couldn’t. The artist found a new purpose and something to live for (276).
In the spirit of The Wax Bullet War, and in support of Davis’s efforts, this Memorial Day is a reminder to honor our fallen soldiers and all those affected by the traumas of war. This May presents numerous awareness opportunities and campaigns in support of our troops. Look forward to:
- Loyalty Day (May 1)
- National Anxiety and Awareness Week (May 2–8)
- Nurse Week (May 6–12)
- National Prevention Week (May 15–21)
- Memorial Day (May 30)