OLIVER STONE, 61
Award-winning filmmaker who fought in Vietnam
On January 1, we were out in the bush on the Cambodian border, in these big foxholes"what they call a two-company perimeter, with artillery. We'd set up a kind of a quick LZ [landing zone], and for some reason all the packages for Christmas arrived on the 1st. I was opening all these beautiful things that were sent from home, from Mom, from my friends. Then the night came"and that was some night. We got hit with a two-battalion human-wave attack by the NVA [North Vietnamese Army]. That was a hell of a way to start the year. It was hard. But I became a better soldier that year. I learned a lot about life and the realities of dealing with other men. I saved lives. I didn't kill people unnecessarily. I kept my soul, while a lot of people came out dead. I did not come back against the war, though. I came back in a blur. I was numb, frankly. But I knew I would never be the same again. "Oliver Stone served in Vietnam from September 1967 to November 1968 and was awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart; his upcoming film, Pinkville, explores the investigation that followed the My Lai massacre.