It is appropriate that 365 Days should begin and end with a sense of the interconnectedness of the medical and combat services, for their members are the true heroes and heroines of these sketches. Just as Glasser recognized that “there is not . . . a community in America that would not have been proud” to claim Zama’s hospital for its own, so he himself is able to feel proud of the soldiers he comes to know and respect. In writing of moments in the soldiers’ and medics’ lives, Glasser emphasizes a pattern of naivete, dedication, frustration, and personal sacrifice. This archetypal pattern of the loss of innocence links these diverse sketches together.
Ultimately, the author focuses on the naive goodness of the soldiers and medics. In “The Shaping-Up of Macabe,” for example, Glasser relates how Macabe evolves from an idealistic college Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) cadet into a pragmatic and efficient artillery officer. Glasser writes, “Hemingway had his Spain; Macabe would have his Vietnam.” Macabe volunteers for one specialized training course after another, from artillery training to “jump” school to ranger training, and learns that this war is not romantic. He comes to focus, even while in training, “always on the immediate.” According to Glasser, Macabe and the other soldiers in his unit “were learning how to live with someone trying to kill them.” Thus Macabe’s violent retributive actions become...
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