I was reading through several pages of notes from my interview with local Vietnam veteran Jim Hart on Sunday evening as I struggled to come up with a way to begin telling the man’s story.

War is brutal.

There you have it — the shortest story ever penned by me, had I been able to leave it at that.

I was a mere four months old when Jim Hart returned from his tour of duty in the spring of 1971.

How could I convey the sheer grit of soldiers who served in the jungles and rice paddies of ’Nam? For starters, by asking Jim the sometimes difficult questions that evoke memories often better left in the back of one’s mind.

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The Vietnam War was the last time our U.S. government invoked the draft. Jim and countless others like him didn’t have a choice. They were told they were needed to serve their country and they answered the call of duty so that we may continue to have the freedoms we have today.

What would our country look like without the freedoms we enjoy? What if women weren’t allowed to vote? What if our nation’s media outlets were forced to publish government propaganda rather than be allowed to dig into the truth?

What if people weren’t allowed to express their opinions on the COVID-19 vaccine and mask mandates? Ugh, perhaps I shouldn’t go there!

But I will, because before I sat down to work on my veteran feature, I read through a few too many comments on the Globe’s Facebook page regarding COVID-related stories.

Really, do people not have anything better to do on an absolutely gorgeous early November weekend than to argue over who is “right” and who is “wrong” in the debate over vaccinations?

One side wants everyone to be vaccinated in hopes that no new, perhaps worse, strains of this terrible virus continue to attack our communities, our friends, our families. The other side cries out for personal freedom of choice.

Does anyone else feel that we are a nation at war with each other?

In wars of the past, enemy is pitted against enemy with weapons of violence. Today, our weapons are our words and the negative attacks against those who have a difference of opinion.

I understand that both sides think they are right and the other is wrong. I also understand that, for the most part, minds will not be changed on this issue.

Is arguing at the top of one’s social media lungs going to help? No.

Many, many years ago, as a child riding the school bus, I learned a not-forgotten phrase from someone being bullied …

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”

It sounded good to my young ears at the time — and I know I’ve said those very words a time or two … or 10 … as well.

The adult me knows that perhaps it’s better to take the sticks and stones, because the harsh, unforgiving words some like to spew for the sake of “always being right” can stick with a person long after the bones have healed and the bruises have disappeared.