Updated: Nov 16, 2020
I just want you to know how much I hate you. You have stolen so much from so many. You have made lives a living Hell. You have robbed so much happiness. You have taken countless lives. You have turned people into numbers instead of names. You have taken lives that has left a hole so deep that nothing will ever fill it. How dare you do this!!!
I have always loved this country and the military, but PTSD you are making it hard to do that. Young men and women signed up to serve and protect this country and me from enemies, both foreign and domestic. Who is protecting them?
They were taught how to fight and how to kill and how to be the best they could be at their jobs, the best of the best. When they did good, they were given a medal to proudly wear on their chest. Just what did those medals represent? Lives lost. Not just the lives of the enemies, but the lives of their brothers and sisters. Some died instantly. Some died days, weeks or months later. Some died years later, and some wish they were dead. Others made sure they were dead.
The medals are replaced by a flag. The flag they swore to protect now lays draped across a box. It is folded with precision by others who defended it and fight daily not to end up in a flag draped box. This flag is then handed to their family with the words, “Thank you for your service”. Guns are fired to honor them, the very sounds that they tried to escape ring out loudly. The only blessing is that they will not ever have flashbacks from that sound again. Taps are played and each note resonated deep in the heart and minds of all that are there. The notes have been played too many times. The next time we hear those notes they will forever remind us of the lives lost prior. It is again with honor that they are laid to rest in a national cemetery where each row, in military precision is perfect. A perfect ending to a not so perfect life.
What did we do to protect them before this last medal was placed over them? We trained them. We used them. We patted them on the back and said, “Thank you for your service”. We put them out like the trash. Each day the bag tears apart little by little and pieces of them blow out never to be replaced. We send thousands and thousands of them to get help in a place that is not designed to handle all of them. The problem grew faster than the resources did. We give them pills to numb the pain. They can no longer speak up. They no longer have a voice. “Soldier ruck up”.
They came home to families. There mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, sons, and daughters were expecting the person who left to come home. When they got off that plane the face may have looked the same, but they were forever changed. Their families expected life just to go on as it had in the years, weeks, and months before they left. Memorial Day that used to be celebrated at the beach, lake or in the back yards across America are no longer a celebration. They are replaced with images of brothers and sisters lost. Anniversaries are no longer a joyous occasion. The anniversaries they now remember are the anniversaries of death and destruction.
Sleep eludes them. It is one of the most basic things of human existence. We have done it from infancy, wrapped in a blanket and peaceful. There sleep is filled with anxiety, nightmares and endless hours just laying there. Their minds never shut off. You robbed them of these moments of peace.
You left their families feeling lost and torn. We try to love them. We try to do what is best for them. We do not understand what keep them awake at night. We do not understand why they close off and put up walls. We do not know how to help them. We sit there and watch them suffer in either silence or rage. You have torn families apart. You have left children to be raised without one of their parents. You have instilled fear in families. Mostly it is fear of the unknown. The unknown moment when a sight, sound, or smell will trigger a painful memory. You have broken them down. You have left them hurt in a way no one should ever have to be hurt. You have left their families feeling hurt and bitter. It is hard for them to decide if they should be mad at the veteran or you. You have built up resentment where it never used to be. So again, PTSD I hate you.
I can promise you that I will not let you rob us of love. I will be my veteran’s support. I will be his voice. I will be his partner. We may have to live with you, but I assure you that you will not control us or take over us. You will not rob us of our happy moments. One thing is for sure, I love my Veteran way more than I hate you.