The cost of killing

We often hear about the trauma inflicted on those who fought in some of the U.S.’s less glorious wars—Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Less often do we hear about the toll that World War II exacted on the souls of those who came home alive and “victorious.” It doesn’t take defeat and rampant war crimes inflicted on non-Europeans to damage a psyche. This remarkable video, from the people at Story Corps, reminds us how even the most ordinary act of killing in a “good” war leaves the survivor scarred forever.

86-year-old World War II veteran Joseph Robertson fought at the Battle of the Bulge. Over 60 years later, he still can’t forget one soldier he killed there.