Statue, Three Servicemen, Vietnam Veterans Memorial (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I recently came across this Facebook page called “I Ain’t Marching Anymore – Soldiers Who Dissent.” The tag line is: Veterans and active-duty soldiers who push back against military authority, either while serving or at some time afterward. By doing so, they make invaluable contributions to our democracy, and have since at least 1754.
Upon further exploration, I see that the site’s author focuses on the effects of war on the soldier. Patriotic Americans honor our troops and veterans for their services to our country, but the ravages of war do not end when our veterans return home. Tens of thousands are flooding back to our United States as they vacate Afghanistan.
We Americans need to understand what combat duty has wrought on the minds and psyches of our young men and women who have served. If we can reach an understanding together, then we can, as a community, assist in their healing. And it is community and healing that they need.
For instance, Tomas Young, a veteran who rose to the call of duty after 9/11, returned disabled, and recently announced via Skype to an audience of “Body of War” that he intended to commit suicide in April by no longer eating. Click to see the full story.
How heartbreaking is this? We need to collectively do more for our veterans. We asked them to go out and perform certain duties. As they return home broken of body and broken of mind, we are now obligated to do what we can to make the rest of their life bearable. Some scars you will not be able to see. Read up on PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Some of these veterans will fall to the streets and become homeless. We have to do more than berate them to “get a job, loser.” We have got to practice compassion, and we have got to kick Congress’s ass to do everything they can for our veterans in terms of monetary allocations.
We have met the enemy and he is us
Maybe next time we will not be led so easily by our noses to believe that we have a mortal enemy with weapons of mass destruction. Because, as Pogo used to say, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”
If a cartoon character can see that, why can’t we?