Finally O'Brien says that "none of it happened." If O'Brien is not trying to communicate historical fact, what is he trying to communicate with these stories? Why change the details? What kind of a truth is he trying to relate and why is this truth set apart from historical truth? Is it OK that this "true" war story may or may not be entirely true?
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I think his epigraph is meant to challenge the reader. Do we accept his version of the war because he was a soldier? Do we doubt him because he was a soldier? Many American children still believe that America won the Vietnam war because of movies like Rambo or other myths created in Hollywood. I think O'Brien is challeninging the reader to decipher both the mythos of was and its reality.