Quotes / Shell-Shocked Veteran

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    Film - Live-Action 

"Someday this war's gonna end". That'd be just fine with the boys on the boat. They weren't looking for anything more than a way home. Trouble is, I'd been back there, and I knew that it just didn't exist anymore.
Willard, Apocalypse Now

How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on when in your heart, you begin to understand... there is no going back? There are some things that time cannot mend... some hurts that go too deep... that have taken hold.
Frodo Baggins, The Return of the King

NOTHING is "over". Nothing. You just don't "turn it off." It wasn't my war. You asked me, I didn't ask you.
John Rambo to Col. Trautman, First Blood

There was a time I could see. And I have seen... boys like these - younger even - their arms torn out, their legs ripped off. But there is nothing like the sight of an amputated spirit. There is no prosthetic for that.
Colonel Slade, Scent of a Woman

Silver Fox: Was it the war?
Logan: Yes.
Silver Fox: Which one?
Logan: All of them.

    Literature 

We are not youth any longer. We don't want to take the world by storm. We are fleeing. We fly from ourselves. From our life. We were eighteen and had begun to love life and the world; and we had to shoot it to pieces. The first bomb, the first explosion, burst in our hearts. We are cut off from activity, from striving, from progress. We believe in such things no longer, we believe in the war.

Black dice... You've been out in the field too long... that's what black dice means. Means the luck of the draw has run out on him. A guy with experience that can see death in another man's eyes. Yeah, the next time the dice of chance roll, they'll roll up black. Death.
The Executioner #98: "Black Dice"

You know, it strikes me as the most extraordinary irony that you managed to come through the war with flying colours but seem to find the peace so utterly defeating.
Joanna Burton describing her brother Jerry, Marple: The Moving Finger

I wasn't battle-happy, or mentally scarred, or hung up with guilt, nor did patrols of miniature Japanese brew up under my bed (as happened to one of my section whenever we came out of the line; we used to tell him to take his kukri to them, and when he had done so to his satisfaction, swearing and carving the air, we all went back to sleep again, him included).
Lieutenant Dand MacNeill, McAuslan

It's so much worse than you think, Rose. The things that happen over there, the state of things in the trenches, and having to guard my unit at all hours? I changed, I got fit, I changed the way I think, how I sleep and eat, so I can be on guard, always watching for tricks. For rats that are a little too smart, or phantoms that would whisper panic into menís ears while they sleep? For ghouls that... well, they pretend to be soldiers that die like anyone might, but when you let your guard down and search the body, they bite you and get a hungry kind of death into the wound?
Aimon Behaim, Pact

War seems a fine adventure, the greatest most of them will ever know. Then they get a taste of battle. For some, that one taste is enough to break them. Others go on for years, until they lose count of all the battles they have fought in, but even a man who has survived a hundred fights can break in his hundred-and-first. [...] All thought of home is gone by then, and kings and lords and gods mean less to him than a haunch of spoiled meat that will let him live another day, or a skin of bad wine that might drown his fear for a few hours. The broken man lives from day to day, from meal to meal, more beast than man. Lady Brienne is not wrong. In times like these, the traveler must beware of broken men, and fear them... but he should pity them as well.
Septon Meribald, A Song of Ice and Fire

Just about everyone comes to this crossroad. Some get seventy years, some only get fifteen. Enough time to grow, to take stock of who you are. Enough time to do things youíll regret when you run out of time.
Contessa, Worm

Taylor: It's about regret, and coming to terms with it all.
Annette: You're only eighteen. Why are you worrying about something like that at this stage?
Taylor: Because Iím done. My life is over, for all intents and purposes. No matter how hard I try from here on out, I'll never do anything one tenĖthousandth as important as what I was doing before.
Worm

    Live-Action TV 

The war gave them definition, direction, purpose. Without it, they don't know how to fit in anymore. So they keep looking for ways to go out in a blaze of glory. Some people call that being a hero. Maybe so. I don't know. I've never been one. Me? I think they're looking for something worth dying for because it's easier than finding something worth living for.
Garibaldi, Babylon 5, "Infection"

Corp. John Russell: This medal? I got it when I lost my five best friends in a firefight. AK-47 rounds. I don't know why I survived.
Det. Danny Reagan: Maybe you survived 'cause you were meant to get back to your family.
Russell: No. No, it's 'cause I was quick. You know that drill? (at attention) WHAT ARE THE TWO TYPES OF PEOPLE IN THIS WORLD, SOLDIER?!
Danny: John, you've got to leave that behind, man...
Russell: THE QUICK AND THE DEAD, SIR! WHAT ARE YOU?! THE QUICK! WHAT'RE THEY?! THE DEAD!!
Danny: John, look at me. John. It's time to come home, man.
Russell: I don't want to be quick anymore. (leaps to his death)
Blue Bloods, "Unfinished Business"

When does it stop - the ringing in your ears?
Annie Walker, Covert Affairs

I'm so old now. I used to have so much mercy.
The Tenth Doctor, Doctor Who

There's no place I can be
Since I found Serenity...

Simon: If that battle was so horrible, why'd he name the ship after it?
Zoe: Once you've been to Serenity, you never leave. You just learn to live there.
Firefly

I'm sorry about your friend Mark. But I think that most of him died somewhere in Kandahar.

Rufus: Folks like us, there ain't no happy ending. We all got it coming.
Dean: Well ain't you a bucket of sunshine.
Rufus: I'm what you've got to look forward to if you survive.

    Music 

And so I sit here at this bar
I'm not a hero, I'm not a movie star
I've got my beer, I've got my stories to tell
But they won't tell you what it's like in hell
Red flowers bursting down below us
Those people didn't even know us
We didn't know if we would live or die,
We didn't know if it was wrong or right
We didn't know if we would live or die,
I bombed Korea every night
CAKE, "I Bombed Korea"

And can you tell me, doctor, why I still can't get to sleep?
And night time's just a jungle dark and a barking M16?
And what's this rash that comes and goes, can you tell me what it means?
God help me, I was only nineteen.
Redgum, "I Was Only 19 (A Walk In The Light Green)"

    Poetry 

These are men whose minds the Dead have ravished.
Memory fingers in their hair of murders,
Multitudinous murders they once witnessed.
Wading sloughs of flesh these helpless wander,
Treading blood from lungs that had loved laughter.
Always they must see these things and hear them,
Batter of guns and shatter of flying muscles,
Carnage incomparable and human squander
Rucked too thick for these men's extrication.
Wilfred Owen, "Mental Cases"

from passing by the roses strewn
at the feet of the fallen and feeling
the names of the dead on the cold, wet
stone, there became a certain
satisfaction in breathing

and even more in realizing we still could.
sound-dispute, "Vietnam"

Do they matter - those dreams in the pit?
You can drink and forget and be glad,
And people won't say that youíre mad;
For they know that you've fought for your country,
And no one will worry a bit.

I realize: I am not answerable for
The fate of those who perished in the war,
For every younger pal or senior vet
Left yonder; nor is anybody saying
That I could save them, but fell short of saving,
No one says that, and yet, and yet, and yet...
A. Twardowski, "And yet..."

    Video Games 

The people I killed...they're not comin' back, Leo. What's left for ME!?
Maximilian, Anarchy Reigns

Their fires lit up the night. All across Lake Rumare, like stars come to earth. It was beautiful, really.
I had a medal. It had someone's face on it. I threw it away, after. It didn't help.
I finally understand what it all means. What its all for. The killing. And the dying.

There's only so much fight in a person. Only so much death you can take before...
Commander Shepard, Mass Effect 3

Soldier: You know, Captain, we drove through this whole city to find you. We... we saw things. If you don't mind me asking, what was it like? How did you survive all this?
Walker: ...Who said I did?

The winter after the curse was lifted, hundreds of veteran orcs like me were lost to despair. Our minds were finally free, yes... Free to relive all of the unthinkable acts that we had performed under the Legion's influence. I think it was the sounds of the draenei children that unnerved most of them... You never forget... Have you ever been to Jaggedswine Farm? When the swine are of age for the slaughter... It's that sound. The sound of the swine being killed... It resonates the loudest. Those are hard times for us older veterans.
Varok Saurfang, World of Warcraft

    Web Original 

The Chief: Is it possible that you were living out a war flashback, Sarge?
Sarge: Aye.
The Chief: Let's go ahead and say that's what happened.
Sarge: It would explain a lot.

    Western Animation 

It's not that I don't want to remember. I have to remember... for those who can't.
Ratchet, Transformers Animated

Lately I've been thinking about all the people I've had to kill. God, the first five, ten times you take a life it's eerie, you remember every detail. I can see all their faces, one had a beard. Each time I pulled the trigger I tied a little knot in my memory that no amount of whisky could loosen. Course, eventually I stopped caring, now I can put a bullet through a man's head while thinking about how much KFC to pick up on my way home. It's usually no more than a bucket. The sick part is I've come to love it, snuffing out lives, I crave it! I feel like an angel of death, the messenger of eternal darkness, a merciless demon with an unquenchable th- oh they just put more orange chicken in the buffet, gotta run.
Stan Smith, American Dad!


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Quotes/ShellshockedVeteran