In the fall of 2016, while writer Elliot Ackerman was on assignment in Iraq for Esquire magazine, he found himself on a rooftop in recently liberated Fallujah, peering down at a knee-high cinderblock wall. Before he was a writer, Ackerman was a Marine infantry officer, and for a few tense minutes during the Second Battle of Fallujah, that wall had been all that stood between Ackerman and a barrage of enemy gunfire. Now, after all those years, it was still there. And as he looked out across the neighborhood where his platoon had fought a daylong battle in 2004, it dawned on him: Everything else he remembered from that day was there, too.
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.