Dear Veterans

War is a terrible thing,

War is carnage and destruction.

You brave soldier have dedicated your life to a pursuit of freedom and for that I am grateful. You have made yourself a target and proudly honored your flag. What a disturbance it is to see that you aren’t taken care of after your valiance.

I have members of my family who have served, and it has been engrained in me to respect and appreciate those who are willing to do so.

However, I do not have to respect and appreciate a government that has so often cast loyal veterans aside. A government that doesn’t invest enough into soldiers acclimation back into a civil society, and a government that documents a soldiers worth off of how long they serve, or how tough they are both mentally and physically. Strength comes from those willing to accept and work on their weaknesses, the military does a great job of hardening individuals, making them more machine than human being.

Like I said, I have family members who have served, and my uncle passed this year, not from Covid or from war. I believe it was a slow degradation of the mind and spirit post-service. It lead to health issues that may have been too difficult for him to handle. The truth is I don’t know for sure how it happened, or when it started. We had always been incredibly close even though we didn’t talk as much in the past 8 years or so… We had a bond that I didn’t think needed confirmation, but I still wish he would’ve called more, I wish I would’ve called more. I wish I managed to take more trips to see him. It was always in the plan, I was going to take a road trip across the US and I would stay in Texas with him for a month or so, just to catch up, have fun, and talk for the first time as adults. I would get some advice about life, and I would listen to anything he wanted to get off of his chest. We would rekindle our friendship and drink a bunch of beer, take a few shots of whiskey. I’d leave with the promise of coming back to visit soon.

34 years was not long enough, and I wish he would’ve been better taken care of because even though he loved and respected the military, it doesn’t seem that that feeling was reciprocated. In that way, the cost was a life, it was quality of life for years, and now it’s the absence of one. And quite frankly that makes me angry.

It also makes me angry that my grandfather served in Vietnam, he went through absolute and total hell, and left with two Purple Hearts. The answer through all of the physical ailments and PTSD was opiates, and is to this day. Therapy doesn’t work as it is in the VA, trauma takes patience and years of diligence, yet once you’re done serving the operative is to get them out of your hair.

So yes, I respect, appreciate, and love the veterans of my country but, will we start taking care of them as they deserve to be taken care of?