Being a vet is a point of honor… but it comes with a price.

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Almost three years ago, a friend of mine died. He was shot down by indirect fire, somewhere in the mountains of Afghanistan.

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It’s hard writing that sentence. It doesn’t change the facts. But when I think of him now, it’s hard to think of the happy, driven, passionate man I knew. I wonder about his last moments, instead. Did it hurt? Did he know what was happening? Was he afraid?

When I signed up for the Army, I signed up knowing I was promising my life and my honor – and I signed up because it was worth it. On Veterans Day, we remember others who thought t2015-11-10 19.14.17he same. Who said it was worth it. Who knew the cost. But that doesn’t make it easier, when we are home. Being a vet is a point of honor… but it comes with a price. How do you explain the military to someone who has never lived it?

Clinical terms – PTSD. Shell shock. Depression. Military sexual trauma. All meant to help the civilian world understand what it is 2015-11-10 19.20.31we live through, but all to often it feels like we’re on the other side of a glass wall. We see what you do. We can copy your movements, your gestures. But when we speak – do you truly hear?

This Veterans Day… please. Take a minute to listen to the veteran in your life. Even if they never deployed, I guarantee you they have stories to tell. Pain. Fear. Loneliness. Despair.2015-11-10 19.24.05

Take a minute and listen… maybe we can break down that glass wall. Maybe we don’t have to be so different after all.

-Army Vet and IMAlive Volunteer

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