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This is an excerpt from a fiction story.

And the truth was that if, back then, he could have been, in some impossible way, both there and not there, just a safe, immune spectator, he might have been able to say that, on a grand and terrible scale, that was just what it was like: immense fires below, and up in the sky a great show—flashes and bangs, colored flares, dancing searchlight beams.

I wonder what the sentence in bold means here.

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It means he might have been able to say back then - during the war - that a bombing mission looked exactly like Bonfire Night.

It doesn't tell us to whom he might have been able to say it, but I think it means himself: "the same voice he’d heard inside him when he was a bomb aimer".

There is a suggestion that the comparison eases his distressing memories today.

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    Thank you very much.
    – user149418
    Jan 25, 2022 at 4:47
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    @StackExchanger: You're welcome. And thanks for the story. It's really good. Jan 25, 2022 at 4:49

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