I AM STILL AT WAR: Military Veterans STILL battle after service.

When do military veterans get to stop fighting? We gather the courage to enter a new walk of life that we have never seen before. Go through bootcamp and fight our way towards agility building and go through all the job training that places us within a company that could not stand without each soldier being placed exactly where they stand, in formation. To push through all the long days and short nights and missed family times while holding on tight to that “battle buddy” that was just introduced only ten minutes ago, but, somehow, is now your new family and life-long friend. To go to places where we may not be able to reach out to our loved ones by phone and close commutes are completely out of the question and face every day with boots strapped up tight and an unloaded weapon on our side. Yelling every cadence and marching along side other soldiers who chose to fight for freedom, or whatever brought them in to ultimately represent this here, United States of America. Giving months and years and time and tears. All for it to be thrown in the trash once you ETS (get out of the military). This person who was just a prized soldier or officer or chief of high rank being thanked for their service, is officially uncared for and just about as important as a homeless person begging on the street, and there are literally hundreds of them, the veterans, homeless. Today, you can walk into work and be saluted and tomorrow you can be told that you can’t get health care or education assistance, that was promised, because certain words or numbers on a piece of paper are preventing you from doing so. There are so many people who are miserable and suffer from PTSD (myself included) who have been pushed aside and laughed at and talked about because people do not understand what it is like to deal with a mental issue, can not fathom the pain that comes with it. Physically, our body fights our mind to get away from the thoughts that can consume the very peace that lives in JUST BEING. Mentally, we go back and forth between “I’m okay” and “Im not okay” and the people around us either ignore it or have to fight with/for us. Some people aren’t very strong and we need someone to help them see the light in the next day and with PTSD there is no light if you can’t see it for yourself. We have to constantly rebuild and create new happy memories because old ones can be tarnished because of broken thoughts. To go through that inside and then go to look outside of ourselves and be told that we can get help from an entire organization completely dedicated to us, but go there, and be treated like we don’t belong or that we are a problem or that we didn’t dedicate our whole entire life to this here United States of America and they turn their back on us, but “I could’ve died for you” is all we have to hold on to. They make us feel like we are nothing. Like the hurt that we suffer from physically being reminded by every move that we make “I served a country that doesn’t care about me” When did it ever care? How can I be proud of the service that I gave, if I can’t even get an appointment to treat the ailments that my service gave me? Why do I have to hate the memory of choosing to be a proud american? When will soldiers still be recognized as soldiers, outside of the uniform? Every soldier who has committed suicide under veteran status felt overlooked and that their life didn’t matter any longer. They fought along side other soldiers who are now in higher ranks or have transitioned to officers. They ran from the mortars that could’ve taken them out easily, within a few more inches. Why do we stop mattering because we no longer wear a beret? Who makes up the rules to what makes a freedom fighter continue to get respect as just even a citizen. Are citizens that undervalued that we have to suffer just to not be in pain? It hurts to not be able to enjoy life because our yesterdays are taken from us. Our families and lives are forever changed and we can never get back the person that we were before going to bootcamp, but we have to suffer forever with this new person that we barely get a proper introduction to. I shouldn’t be asked to fight for freedom of my entire country to be safe in here America and then get out of uniform and have to fight to be accepted as an American citizen. No veteran should have to fight for a place to live or for treatment for problems that would never exist had service not been entered. No veteran should feel alone and uncared for after being made to always be with a fellow soldier for years and told to never walk alone. A veteran of the united states military should never feel alone or uncared for or be denied of ANY services because that veteran did not deny the country when they chose to step up and stand in a position that nobody else stepped up and decided to stand in. That veteran filled boots that could never be filled because no-one else chose to stand in those boots to represent FREEDOM and INTEGRITY. When is America going to have some integrity for the horrible ways that soldiers are treated? Veterans are soldiers too and we never get to stop fighting. Never.

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