Veteran, Author – Kurt Vonnegut

“The nicest veterans in Schenectady, I thought, the kindest and funniest ones, the ones who hated war the most, were the ones who’d really fought.” – Kurt Vonnegut

One of my favorite authors, Kurt Vonnegut, was born on Armistice Day in 1922. His experiences as a soldier and POW in World War II influenced much of his writing, especially his novel Slaughterhouse Five, published in 1969. Slaughterhouse Number 5, Dresden, was Vonnegut’s address after he was captured by German soldiers. As a prisoner of war, he was held in the basement of a slaughterhouse, which ironically ensured his survival during the firebombing of Dresden.

Slaughterhouse Five is a novel I feel the need to re-read every few years. I believe Vonnegut’s ability to use time travel and aliens to show his readers absurd truths about real wars showed true genius. I will never forget the image of a soldier trudging for hours through the snow in shoes that are tearing his feet apart.

Happy birthday, Kurt! I know in some version of reality, you can hop in your time machine and come to 2011 to read this blog post.