This story is a very dark and deep one. The goes inside the mind of the Vietnam solider and the burdens these men had to face, or carry as the author put it. The story goes through the physical things these men were forced to carry, weapons, food etc. But I think the central theme is the things we carry that we can't dispose of. And I think the author keeps that theme simple, as in the way he describes it, so for those of us that have never faced that adversity can really grasp the mental conflict these men were forced to handle. In the story it talks about things that they no longer needed, they just dropped on the trail and walked away. And all the characters struggled with the fact that they could not just drop the mental baggage they carry, as much as they may want to. They find throughout their humping through the countryside, that since they cannot drop what burdens them in their minds, they mask is and put on a face that revels nothing of their personal internal struggle.
This story hits home a bit for me. My dad was drafted in the Army to serve in Vietnam. He tells us very few stories of his time there, and most of them are of times that were pleasant, but most just very ambiguous. When I joined the Navy at 18, and completed boot camp, he opened up more to me about his time there, thinking I believe, that now that I am a part of the club, I am privy to some of the horror stories and details about the war, and serving in the military in general. But I know there is still much more that he is not telling me, and reading this story I can understand why. So I think this story really goes in the internal conflict that maybe all war vets share. I think this story has an interesting way of showing the character's emotions as well, and how they are forced to deal with them, and process the situations they are put into.
Throughout the story, a major topic is about what they carry physically and individual weight of each item they are forced to carry.