Veterans News / We The People

The Veteran

Veteran

As Veterans’ Day approaches, many shrug. They should not. A single combat veteran knows more about what freedom is, what it costs, what we owe, what this nation is about – than the 93 percent who have never served. On this day, stop – and think.

Many false narratives exist about veterans. So, let’s clear a few up, this Veterans’ Week.

First, because combat veterans confront enormous uncertainty, danger, and violence on a daily basis for extended periods of time, a choice they made to protect others, many encounter trauma, which can become a source of post-traumatic stress or PTS.

Like civilians who encounter life-and-death trauma and later PTS, many veterans find ways to resolve PTS from combat. Ways vary, as do causes. Resolution or management can come from compassion on the part of friends and family, intense redirection of purpose, refocus on the events, exercise, counseling, medication, and other means. Not all who first have PTS confront it daily over time.

Numbers matter and are often forgotten. Six in ten men face trauma in their lives, half of all women. That is independent of military service. Roughly six percent of the US population, civilian and former military, face a version of PTS. Among military personnel, between 11 and 20 percent face PTS.

Put differently, we are a nation under enormous stress, because we are engaged, take risks, often for others. Veterans take outsized risks for others, to protect the rest of us, this nation, people and ideals.

That said, somewhere between nine-in-ten, or four-in-five, veterans do not have PTS, or resolve it. That is important, because veterans are often tagged as afflicted, unable to resolve it, or unaware of it. That is not true. Most do not have PTS, most of those who do find ways to resolve or manage it.

Second – and this is the flip side – many veterans do have PTS, more than in the civilian population, just as many learn to live with a missing limb, permanent wound, disability, or personal memories others do not have to bear. This does not mean they do not learn to manage the reality, only that they suffer it.

This was true in all wars, based on the historical record. Those with the courage to fight for others must often summon a level and depth of courage they did not anticipate – to sustain themselves over time. The need to manage what war did to their peace, memories, guilt, fear, uncertainty, awareness of evil, loss, and opportunity cost are all part of it.

Third, some face this kind of battle daily, nightly, along with what might be called continuing loss, often in the form of lost peace, sleep, family, friends, time, job, and self-value. These veterans are fighting for us still – because what they encountered “over there” is here, and what they did for us, they carry.

This is where love is most needed, not in some passing, superficial, glad-you-served, thank-you-for-your-service way, but in ways that count – making sure those around us who suffer know they are very much valued, their lives count, their reality is of such importance to us that we will help them through, help them really “come home” with whatever we can offer.

More to the point, we need to stop, make veterans a priority, be clear we are not “fair weather” friends, not “hail-and-farewell” friends, but able and willing to be counted on. Why? Because they made us their life’s priority. They were not “fair weather” friends, stepped up to protect us.

Simple stuff, but so often forgotten in the hubbub. While most veterans adjust and reintegrate well into civilian life – bringing unique skills – some need an assist. Have you ever needed help, really needed it, been paralyzed by events, brought to despair, felt guilt, depression, indifference, or just knew others were not going through what you were, that you needed to adjust?

In the end, several things – this week – deserve pausing on. Veterans do not ask for a lifetime of suffering but know that is possible. They sign up for lots of reasons, but at some point they all understand, accept, assume the high purpose, knowing they are in this for others, may pay dearly.

They know America is different, our culture, love of liberty, enthusiasms, and resilience – all part of a world they hope to rejoin. America is genuinely different, a nation of people who – more than not – understand, sometimes in our bones, we are lucky. They know that too – which is one reason they sign up to fight.

Most of all – making the argument every day is Veterans’ Day – they trust us. They trust their service will be understood by other Americans, as much as by other vets and a merciful God. They trust that what they do and did is worth the price they paid and continue to pay.

Here is the final point, which should resonate this week, this Veterans’ Day, and on all days: They trust the decisions they made, what they did, risks they took, crosses they bear – being who they are – is something you will stop to understand about them, respect in them, and not forget.

Most of all, they want you to honor the country they signed up to protect, now and always – because they do, always will. This Veterans’ Day, you do not need to do more than honor them. They honored you, and the open secret is, they still do.


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Smike
1 month ago

Way too much… I’m a veteran, a retiree, I served during the Vietnam war at NKP Thailand, Afghanistan, Iraq, Korea and Honduras. I’m not a hero, an icon or even special. I served my country, I’m an American, I did what every Americans should do. Don’t make me into something I’m not. I don’t have PTSD, I’m not depressed, I’m not angry, I’m not suicidal, I’m not homeless – I’m just your average American. By far, most of us “veterans” are normal people with all of the same problems everyone else has. You don’t owe me anything, I did what I did because it was the right thing to do. I’m proud to be an American. Don’t Thank me for my service. I didn’t do it for you. I did it because that’s who I am, I’m an American, God Bless the USA.

Don
2 months ago

I am a WW2 veteran. I wasn’t drafted, I enlisted. Im very disappointed on what has and is happening to our beloved country.the remark”Thank you for your service” has become trite and meaningless. My father came here from Italy, was drafted , and fought for 1 1/2 years years in France. My three brothers were involved in every major theater WW 2. I saw no combat. The US of today doesn’t reflect the founding fathers intent to establish a perfect Union. Unless we re-establish that intent, history will repeat itself.

Peter
2 months ago

Honestly, I couldn’t read this whole opinion because I am tired of hearing about Veterans. The irony is I am former Army – a victim of BRAC! I was commissioned in the US Army Signal Corps in 1988 and immediately escorted to the exit door. I grew up on military bases and posts. My parents met in the USAF, my family has had generations serve honorably in the Armed Forces during wars, conflicts, crisis, and police actions and a handful retire from the Army, Air Force and Navy. My Father retired from the Army in 1979 after 23 years of honorable service. My Father always said “just because someone is in the military doesn’t mean they are honorable, why do you think we have Fort Leavenworth.” I have met many active duty and former military servicemen that have “socialist beliefs and values” – it truly broke my heart when 10 years ago I had a former friend who retired from the US Army National Guard Bureau after serving 10 years in the Marines emphatically tell me to face the fact that USA is a socialist nation. I remember meeting and working with dozens of veterans boast about their service which sounded more like a video game. I salute and respect genuine combat veterans.

Jess Salazar Sr.
2 months ago

Not too many young adults of today, take the time to reflect on what others have sacrificed for them. They take there freedoms for granted, never stopping to think,what others had to endure, for their right to be Free, and live their lives accordingly.
I know I was one of those who never stopped to ponder their sacrifices. My father was a World War II veteran. He fought in some of the bloodiest campaigns of the Pacific theater. But I grew up ignorant of what he went through. It wasn’t until I myself followed in my dad’s footsteps that the reality of war, made its ugly imprint on my own life. At nineteen, I was sent to Vietnam.
I was wounded on my second deployment over there. When I came home, I was a shell of my former youth. I’m an old man now,in the twilight of my years.
I hope before dying, that I can visit the Vietnam memorial wall in Washington, D.C. Ask any Medal of Honor veteran who the real heroes are, and they will tell you, it’s those who never came home!
Never forget them. On this Veterans Day, if given the opportunity, thank a man or woman wearing the uniform of our Country, for there service. They stand ready to defend our freedoms,at a moment’s notice, even if means paying the ultimate sacrifice. God Bless the U.S. A. !

Arizona John
2 months ago

Thank you for your service

Michael Mcpherson
2 months ago

This could not have been stated any better. I totally understand what you’re saying and it is spot on. For some it’s an iron every day occurrence, the nightmares, the triggers such as smells, helicopters gunshots sudden noises or people approaching you without notice cause you problems. Family members have to know what your triggers are so as not to cause a serious incident. You have to learn to control your emotions if you were confronted by someone who may want to fight you or hurt you because you only know one thing and that is to neutralize the situation. Thank you for your insightful article and may God have mercy on those who suffer those lingering injuries both physical and mental from war that will never go away on the side of Heaven.

Michael McPherson
2 months ago

And for all the Vietnam veterans who never got to hear those much-needed words “welcome home” and for all the 5th Special Forces who did what nobody else wanted to do or wanted to know about. Phoenix

Kitty
2 months ago

I have had at least 8 veterans in my family but since we were all separated and left on our own I have no idea how many suffering but 2 for sure. You can also differ a little if you are battered.

Jan Satterfield
2 months ago

My wife and I are both vets. We were very lucky did not see the bad stuff. For that we thank GOD each day.
What makes me so mad is the ways our fellow Americans are actually trying to destroy our country. Our country that we are blessed to have lived our lives in freedom . Because of the men and women who died and became mentally and physically disabled throughout our history.
To me that’s not showing honor and respect for those who laid their lives down for us.These men and women died before they had a chance to live their life.
Please my fellow Americans let’s honor and remember them properly by voting and getting rid of our fellow citizens who only want to destroy our country.

Kitty
2 months ago

Thank you

Randy White
2 months ago

Well said. I wish more Americans would understand the value of freedom and the cost to veterans. Socialism is the loss of that freedom.

John
2 months ago

God bless our veterans! Thank you because you are the guardians of the values and principles of the USA.

Max
2 months ago

RBC, thanks again for your article. I am USN retired with 30 years, never faced actual combat but was in 5 active combat zones during my career. When I am out and about, I take the time to talk to veterans and learn about their service time. I always acknowledge the public when I am thanked for my service especially by the younger kids. In God we trust, all others we monitor.

Bob G.
2 months ago

When I enlisted in 1967 I essentially signed a blank check made out to the United States of America for anything up and including my life. Just to let those that have not served just how serious we took our service was. To all Vietnam Vets, Welcome home.

Steve Smith
2 months ago
Reply to  Bob G.

Thanks to all of you for your sacrifice and service.

Centurion
2 months ago
Reply to  Bob G.

We appreciate the recognition.

82nd Airborne Division
71 – 73

Gunny Joe
2 months ago

I would add one point Sir, not just the country (Nation, United States of American) honor the Constitution as it is written, the Constitution is a signed contract between, We The People and the the Federal Government.

David Millikan
2 months ago

IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY of AMERICANS to TAKE CARE of OUR VETERANS.
IF IT WAS NOT FOR OUR VETERANS WE WOULD NOT HAVE A FREE COUNTRY.
WE OWE OUR VETERANS AND THEIR FAMILIES FOR THE SACRIFICES THEY MADE FOR LAYING IT ON THE LINE.
THANK A VETERAN FOR YOUR FREEDOMS and DON’T TAKE OUR VETERANS FOR GRANTED.
GOD BLESS THE UNITED STATES of AMERICA and OUR VETERANS.

Debra Reynolds
2 months ago

One thing that’s never mentioned in these types of articles is the very real financial hardships of a life in the military, and the “benefits” which are being eroded all the time. The lack of care by our VA system, the erosion of medical benefits–soldiers now have to pay for Tricare, which covers less and less all the time! Remember our veterans and honor them when you vote, as well, and elect people who will care for them and honor them, and help them when they need it.

Smike
2 months ago

Veterans Day is for all those who served, not just those who served in combat. Those of us who served in actual documented combat do get extra attention and benefits that are well deserved. But all veterans served their country and deserve Veterans Day.
PTSD is not limited to combat either but frequently associates with TBI and other combat related injuries. And not all of us combat veterans suffer from PTSD or TBI or at least don’t suffer from the symptoms any longer. We’re just normal Americans who did what they felt was their duty. I think it should be: “Duty, Honor, Country” day – that’s what it’s all about. I think Americans have lost that spirit. They don’t honor our country or feel they have a duty to maintain our freedom or way of life. Veterans Day will probably go the way of Columbus Day, someone will say it offends them and it’ll be removed. I expect some day I will be told to take my American Flag down because someone finds it offensive. And I will probably be fined and put in jail a few days for non-compliance.

Steven Coughlin
2 months ago

Thank you and God bless our veterans. Now honor them further by ending the ridiculous and dangerous woke indoctrination of our troops.

Tom
2 months ago

As a combat veteran you don’t forget the cost to the men you served with and later in life the price you paid and willing to do it again for love of country and freedom. How many times you almost drop for cover or shout”Incoming”.and look around to see how many people think your on something? You try to explain to deaf ears but the memories never go away . Our families suffer with us as the nightmares come and tolerate our checking of door locks four times a night.You sit in a dark room and remember names,dates and experiences as the fear comes and goes never to desert your post willing to defend to the last breat..h I’m a veteran .as people burn your country’s flag which you fought for and their right to do so .We as veterans know the cost.If necessary to fight for freedom again we know what”lock and load “ means and the price required. God bless you guys!!!

DBM
2 months ago

It is the Veteran   Author: Anonymous

It is the Veteran, not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the Veteran, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the Veteran, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the Veteran, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to assemble.

It is the Veteran, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the Veteran, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote.

It is the Veteran, who salutes the Flag,

It is the Veteran, who serves under the Flag,

To be buried by the flag,

So the protester can burn the flag.

RBC
2 months ago
Reply to  DBM

So very, very well said

anna hubert
2 months ago
Reply to  DBM

Every word of it is truth and nothing but What is not being said that for a long time now a veteran has been used as a political tool Sent to a danger zone with hands tied behind his back while not a hair is bent on the head of a brass that is a crime calling to high heaven he comes back maimed and broken but it’s all good he made big bucks for someone Mission accomplished God bless a veteran

Patriot Will
2 months ago

Without the Veterans the USA would have been destroyed over 200 years ago. In fact, we would have been soundly beaten by the British almost 2,5 centuries ago. Compare a do nothing traitor like Joe Biden to a patriotic American Veteran, and it becomes crystal clear — Veterans have saved this country and are saving this country many times over. We owe our Veterans deep respect and gratitude. They are the life-blood of our Constitutional Republic. If any group of citizens should be given special treatment, living USA veterans are on top of the list. It’s a disgrace how poorly many of our Veterans are treated. It’s disgusting, and tells us how unfair, as a nation, our priorities are.

Moonpup
2 months ago

Just a reminder that it’s not “Combat Veterans’ Day” – I was with a very unusual unit that, while not in combat, was under a great deal of stress, in fact, in the three years I was with that unit, four people had “nervous breakdowns”. Suffice it to say, that in the event of nuclear war, we probably would have been the the first and primary target. I’ll admit to being occasionally irritated by the fact that a company clerk at a supply depot in Vietnam is recognized as a combat vet (my brother-in-law, who was in fact in such a position – put himself in for a Bronze Star and got it) while the people I served with were “encouraged” to not discuss what we did for at least 20 years.

RBC
2 months ago
Reply to  Moonpup

God bless you and that unit. Agree fully. .Thank you.

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