Each Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day I get choked up and the tears begin to roll as I hear the stories from the veteran’s from the podium in our local auditorium. Yesterday was no different. I was driving in my car home listening to a radio program about a veteran from Iraq. He and his family were driving home from his awards ceremony about two months after he got home from Iraq. His wife and daughter were in the car with him coming home when they were hit by a drunk driver.
His injuries were such that they called in family because they were sure he wouldn’t survive, his wife was injuried and his daughter was thrown from the vehicle into the oncoming lane of traffic. The drunk driver died in the accident.
I always thought in the back of my mind that anyone who had suffered in serving should be spared from further suffering. The reality is their lives are not spared the day-to-day hardships. They experience life just as we do but they have the past to deal with as well. People seem to think that once they arrive home safe that is the end of the perils and suffering for them. It isn’t.
How can they deal with what they have seen, felt, and endured in the past during their service? In the past a lot of men suffered silently never sharing their experiences with others until many years later. Some never do or they share the “G” version (general audience), keeping the worse of it to themselves. They are what made this nation strong. Getting up to do their assigned job each day or doing it lacking sleep. Whatever was required. There are some treatments for PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder) but it is just a band-aid for the hurts inside that never seem to heal.
My uncles, Dad, cousins and brother have all served. They’ve left for service all over the world and thankfully all have come home again to their families. It is a difficult task to return home and try to pick up their lives where they left off. Many deal with loss of jobs, divorce, and family who have died in their absence. My uncles missed the death of their father while serving. They missed children being born and children’s first steps and many other firsts.
If you know a veteran or the family of someone who is presently serving, a kind thank you for the sacrifice that they have given is order. If you find yourself moved to go beyond that maybe helping the family who has someone presently serving with some odd jobs or a family dinner might just be the boost that they need to get through a difficult lonely day. It doesn’t have to be today but that would be a great start.
Thank you to all who have served and are presently serving our country and to those who are left at home to keep the pieces of life together for their families.