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