The question blew my mind, and still does. At twenty years old, having just gone to war, lost friends, and come back, it absolutely astounded me that adults in my own country did not know where we were fighting a very publicized war.
The Silent Warrior Scholarship Fund was started in 2010 by Reconnaissance Marines to honor the memory of their fallen brothers. After returning home from Afghanistan a small group of men were presented with the idea of a scholarship to keep the memory of their brothers alive.
It hurts me to think about it in ways I cannot express, the simple fact that it is happening to a friend of mine is another issue entirely. The topic is homelessness among veterans.
One of the most annoying interactions I have with people is in reference to PTSD and the “symptom” of “hyper vigilance.” I can’t tell you how many times people ask me if being around crowds is frightening to me. I guess I can’t fault the ignorant too much. But, it gets a little old when I’m treated like I’m some kind of paranoid creep.
“All my life I’ve been chasing something, I feel fate breathing down my neck. If the road I’m on somehow leads me nowhere, no retreats men, no regrets.”-The Parlor Mob
“Let’s go crazy, let’s get nuts, slip on a purple banana ’til they throw us in the truck”-Prince
We did our tours, buried friends and enemies, achieved rank, forged reputations among our fellow warriors, and finally, when all the bureaucracy got to be too much for us, we got out. We excitedly raised up our DD-214’s, grabbed our nuts, stuck our tongues out, and flipped a bird to “the Man.” We were going to make something of ourselves.
Ahhhh, military regulations. Few topics evoke a more volatile cocktail of insatiable, fanatically polar opinions.
I think it’s time we address something else separate from the last two pieces. Rather than addressing the interior issues, the mental ones, we need to take a hard look at the way others perceive us. There is a stigma attached to vets that I have seen perpetuated by some of our own.
I'm sick of seeing service members fried because an officer or senior enlisted wants to make a point. I'm sick of seeing teammates throw one another under the bus to save their own career. With over a decade of war there have been countless examples of selfless acts in combat, but why do those acts disappear when we come home?