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Happy Veterans Day?

Tomorrow is Veterans’ Day, a holiday set aside to honor all those who have gone to war, but reflecting on that started me thinking (sometimes a very dangerous activity).

First of all, there is the theory of just war. I don’t think looking back on all the wars fought in my lifetime that there was ever a just war. Secondly, for the 13 years of the new millenium, there has not been a day that I have not read about a war we as a nation are involved with. And lastly, we say we honor our veterans but then I ask the following questions:

If we care about our veterans, why do we (especially those who decide wars) send them in to battle to be wounded and maimed and killed?

If we care about our veterans, why do we offer such poor help when it comes to post traumatic stress syndrome? Why do we let so many of our veterans live their life out in terror from the things they have witnessed and received in war?

If we care about our veterans, why don’t we give them and their disabilities, both physical and mental, treatment with more speed and caring?

If we care about our veterans, why do we continue to use stereotypical answers for the service that do? We call them heroes when some of them are ashamed of what they have been asked by their country to do.

Mental illness is not dealt with well in the armed forces. Our veterans (and those presently serving) are not given the necessary tools for for coping, the necessary resources to understand and TALK about what they are or have been experiencing.

Is it macho to hide the fact that horrible happenings have attacked the minds of those called into battle? Is it asking too much for the people who send these mostly young people into war, to make provisions for their mental and physical care, giving them the best available? And is it too much to ask to give them this help in a very immediate and timely manner?

I remember having a party at our house. A couple who were good friends were in attendance. During the party, the husband, a Green Beret in the Viet Nam War, would often disappear into our back yard. I remember going and asking him if he needed anything. He shook his head and said, “Only if you can stop the cries and the blood and the screams that play out time and again in my mind. I don’t want to be part of having hurt those people but I am.”

Happy Veterans Day?

– Bernadette


2 Responses

  1. Today is Rememberance Day here in Australia. We were a poppy and remember the fallen and pray for peace. (We actually have ANZAC Day on April 25th which is a day off work and rememberance for the defence forces as well).
    Tonight, there is a program on TV that asks “Does our government have blood on its hands”? It focuses on the suffering that those who have come back from war are going through. I agree that if a government is going to send men and women into battle then they have to have the necessary support services for them when they return.
    I can recommend a good book about PTSD called ‘Exit Wounds’ by Major General John Cantrell. It is raw and confronting and at times deeply disturbing but a good read.

  2. In America, the people who should be discussing how to help our Veterans, are busy playing some type of nanny-nanny-boo-boo game. I think some priorities are a bit messed up.

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