War is especially horrifying for those civilians living around and between and soldiers deployed on ground zero of the conflict. Heck, lucky are those who saw an invasion coming and had the luxury to flee, but what happens to those who didn’t? For those who had to stay because they had no choice but to defend their homeland?
Drawing an example to the most recent wartime in this generation: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which the former continually insists the attack a “special military operation,” have disrupted the overall everyday life of Ukrainians, from newborn babies robbed with parents to aging elders who lost their children amid the chaos. As the world watched the once thriving city of Kyiv burn in shambles, the people living at the very heart of the conflict had adjusted to their new environment, adapted to their terrifying new routine, such as having to always be on alert and settled into their new rhythm to go on with their lives despite losing so much. Ukrainians have had to recalibrate their “every day” accordingly to the current war situation, whether monthly or weekly—hourly, even. And this has also been the case for the past generations tangled in wartime, and just like the generations that come before (and after), people adapt, no matter how fierce a war could be.
To survive a conflict, one must remember to look out for their barest needs, including food, water, clothing, sleep, shelter, and social connection for civilians. This also applies to combat personnel who relentlessly fight tooth and nail on the front and boost and maintain morale among troops, as it could affect the tide and outcome of both the defensive and offensive efforts.
In her 2014 essay, The every day as Involved in War, historian Tammy M. Proctor examines the juxtaposing reality of everyone involved in a war, highlighting “five important qualities that shape every day.” Her context, however, tackles life in the First World War, discussing how waiting, staying connected, food and shelter, managing fear, and camaraderie affect the new routine of those involved in an armed conflict. Nevertheless, these five qualities Proctor mentioned also apply even in today’s generation of war as she emphasized that sustaining the most basic needs of humans is what makes one survive in wartime.