Injured Soldiers Threatened! A Tribute to the American Soldiers and other Coalition Forces


I read an article last night that really hit home. The article, Muslim accosts injured Para in hospital was in the Telegraph.co.uk. It seems that a paratrooper injured in the war was in a British hospital for treatment for severe combat injuries. As he lay in his bed unable to defend himself, a Muslim individual accosted him in a confrontational manner for “killing” fellow Muslims. Apparently this Muslim man has done the same thing to other soldiers in that hospital on several other occasions!

Go read the article in the Telegraph. It is a sad and shocking commentary of the treatment of injured soldiers! After you read the article, then please read my tribute to our American soldiers and the other soldiers in the Coalition forces who fight side by side in Iraq and Afghanistan and else where in the world in the GWOT.

“Who am I?”

I left home to go to a far away land, now everything is different. I can’t explain to anyone how. Lately everything seems to be so very confused. It all runs together and it won’t slow down. One minute I’m a normal soldier without a care in the world. Next minute I’m a soldier, alone with my thoughts as I crouch behind a battered vehicle dodging enemy bullets that whiz past my head. Beside me are my brothers and sisters, my only source of strength and courage to go on when I feel myself start to slip away..

An enemy attacked our country. They killed thousands of our own. They threaten to destroy us, to make our country their own. So we came to this place to put an end to their goals. We freed another people these fanatics also terrorized. We taught them how to be free. We gave them hope for a better future. We are helping them rebuild their country. At the same time we now fight alongside each other to defeat this common enemy.

Sadly, one day one of their men or women might be sent far away. They too may have to  fight an enemy who threatens to destroy their homeland. But I pray what we do here today will help prevent that far away day. Not because I am a coward or don’t want to do my job. I am just a soldier, who loves his/her country. And, I’m proud to do my part.

Like many other soldiers before, I willingly volunteered for this honor. To me and my brothers and sisters there is no higher calling except the call of God. I live to serve and protect, to keep our enemies at bay. I trained hard for that day all the while hoping it would never come. But if the call came, I knew I would do what needed to be done. There was also the element of being tested, to know if I could I do my part if the need arose.

But I always hoped that my job would become obsolete. You see, no soldier really wants to kill another human being, be they enemy or innocent victims who are unfortunate enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. We hope our very training and presence will deter those who would do us harm. But, now, as in the past, there are those who have no love of country or even their fellow man.  They spread terror, hate and death anywhere that they can.

I was all pumped up my first day in this land. I was going to help stop this enemy who brazenly attacked us on our very shore. I was going to stop him, let him feel the Eagle at his door. The first time I had to kill one of them, I never felt any remorse. I didn’t look into his face as he died, so I felt no remorse. But that all changed one day as I watched the life flow slowly from my enemy’s face. Then I watched, for the first time, as the life’s blood of an innocent child drained slowly into the sand. I couldn’t help but feel there must be some other way! I felt a tear slide down my face!

Then I stood helplessly by and watched as one of my own brothers and sisters died. I felt the loss like a stabbing burning pain deep inside my heart. I stored it beside the images of all those innocent children. I felt an anger begin to grow inside me that at times threatened to consume me. I wanted to kill every single one of the enemy. I wanted to strangle them with my bare hands, watch as the recognition appeared in their eyes they were dying at my hands. I would savor that moment forever.

But a voice inside me, I don’t know if it was my own or that of God above, said do that and what will be the difference between you and those you judge. So I put aside my anger, or at least that which crossed the line from soldier defending the rights of others to madman killing just to kill. I tempered my rage, I swallowed my grief, I put aside my loneliness and fears, and became a soldier again.

Everyday, or at least once a week when I could, I talked to my loved one(s) back at home. I read the letters incessantly, opened their packages made with such love. These things were my salvation. They reminded me of who I was before I came to this far away land. I didn’t realize just how much of myself was lost day by day. We are too busy staying alive and doing our jobs to think about much of anything else.

But one day I began to notice a difference. It was a subtle something I couldn’t quite grasp. I started marking down the days as the end of my tour was coming to pass. I found there were more and more moments of reflection. Sometimes I couldn’t even remember what I reflected about. I just wanted to be home again, be normal again, be clean again, sleep in my own bed, not have to go out, hunt the enemy, kill him or be killed, see all the death, the violence. I missed my home. I missed my family. I missed my life.  But these thoughts confused me. I am a soldier after all. I have a duty. I answer the call.

I felt guilty about wanting to leave behind my fellow brothers and sisters. I felt guilty that some of them would never go home. I felt guilty because of the burdens my job placed on my family. I felt unclean.  Could they still love me though I am no longer that person who went away that day to protect and defend them from harms way? I felt so afraid! Then I felt a terrible fear begin to grow inside me that the horrors of what I had seen, had done, had lived with during my time here might in some way touch them too. After months of living on guard to protect my very life, would I be able to relax these instincts?

As I lay in my bed at night reliving the horrors of war in my sleep, would my spouse be safe from me? Would I lose control in that moment of not being asleep anymore but not quite awake, and think he/she was the enemy? Can I control all the anger, rage, pain, and not let it spill over to my kids? But hardest of all, can I be with them, accept their love when inside even though some small part of me knows all that other garbage is there and all of what is left of my emotions is still inside me somewhere but I FEEL ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

A dark cloud of nothingness and darkness is wrapped around my heart. It stays with me night and day. Only the battle with the enemy or the fellowship of my brothers and sisters in arms comforts me because I see that same nothingness in their eyes. I see their confusion too. I see that like me their training and professionalism as trained soldiers is all that allows them to go on each day, all that keeps us all on the right side of the line that separates us from the type of human being we are and the enemy we fight.

All those cards, letters, phone calls, emails, they too help keep us from crossing that line. They also keep us from losing ourselves completely. It is the support from home that keeps us going. It is the love from our country that makes the difference. That’s why when I read or hear the news from home my despair deepens. The news is all so negative. There is no news of the good we do. There is no news that we are winning this war. There is no news that says our country has not abandoned us. There is only the marching in the streets, the protests outside the hospitals where our brothers and sisters lay recovering from their wounds, the fighting in the Congress.

Were it not for our training, the love we brought with us of our loved ones, the love of our country, our own love in return, I/we couldn’t go on. We wouldn’t have had the strength to start checking out things for ourselves about the situation back at home. We wouldn’t have been able to figure out that all those spreading the hate, negativity, and lack of support are made of the same substance as the enemy we fight here, so far away from home. The only thing that keeps our fear at bay for our homeland is knowing and remembering that the same spirit that has allowed our country to exist this long will raise its collective arm and stop those at home who would destroy our country, its dreams, its hopes, all the good that exists in America.

So, “Who am I?” I am an American Soldier, a British Soldier, a German or French soldier, or a soldier from countless other nations who willingly risked my life and safety to keep my country safe and my counrtymen and women safe from harm! I am a Military Veteran. I am proud to be a Veteran of my country! I love my country. I am proud and feel privileged to have served my country. But I am one of many who need help. I am not a coward. I am not afraid to serve again. But, sometimes no matter how hard I try, the stain of war leaves an imprint on me that I can’t fight off by myself. I try.

God knows I try. But, I need your help now. I need you to help me look after my family . I need you to help me find myself again. I need you to be strong and do your part as I recover. I need you to not let those in our country who would try to destroy our country succeed. I need to know my sacrifices, given willingly, were not in vain. I need to know what I did mattered. I need to know again, “Who am I, the person?”

 Mack(WMB) at ‘Watching Men Burn’ Falklands – 25 Years On is such a soldier.  Mack is a British War Veteran who served in the Faulklands War. As a result of his service in that war, Mack developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. As a way of coping with PTSD, Mack keeps a blog. He struggles daily with his “PTSD.” Still, Mack finds the courage and strength to support his fellow soldiers and veterans. But his courage doesn’t stop there. Mack goes to the blogs of milbloggers from his country and in other countries and offers support to them too! Mack is a “Champion”for all Veterans, especially “War Veterans.”

I love his blog. I just found it last night. I also have PTSD. My military service experiences [though non-combat] during the Vietnam Era have had a profound effect on my PTSD even though my military service wasn’t the explicit cause. I have found that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have also had a profound effect on me. I cannot imagine in my most thougtful moment what our Combat Veterans and those serving in the other “Coalition Forces” and those Combat Veterans of past wars must endure.

Sadly, in Europe and in America, it would seem that in most respects these men and women receive or can expect the same indifference, though in varying degrees, as they struggle with not only PTSD, but the other many serious and debilitating war injuries. I am talking about men and women who have risked their lives and personal health and mental well-being to defend their respective countries!

It is wonderful that we all Honor our fallen warriors. That is as it should be! But, must our warriors die to receive the respect and care they have earned. In Europe, not only have respective nations not adequately rebuilt their own militaries up to the point where they can at least offer defense of their own homelands, they have virtually eliminated the proper Military Hospital facilities to provide their warriors with adequate medical care. There is no consideration made for the special needs of combat veterans who are hospitalized alongside ordinary citizens from all walks of life, age groups, mental conditions.

In America, we do have many military hospitals and facilities for our veterans. But, often they too are inadequate. They are especially inadequate in dealing with our many veterans who suffer from PTSD. But these inadequacies are not restricted to those suffering from PTSD. Our veterans who have lost limbs or sustained otherwise debilitating injuries also find their medical care lacking. They find support from their countrymen and women lacking. They often find that their ability to provide for themselves and their families is a struggle and often beyond their reach. They find they have become a forgotten sub-culture in our society as do soldiers in other nations across the world!

Combat veterans have special needs that require the companionship of fellow veterans in a protected and specialized environment. They do not belong in the same hospital, much less the same wards, as ordinary citizens, geriatrics, or mentally ill patients. They also should never be placed in places to recover from their war injuries and illnesses where they must feel threatened by other patients and anyone else who has access to them while they are recuperating. They need an environment that feels and is safe, supportive, is medically adequate to treat all their injuries and illnesses, and rehabilitation! To provide them anything less is criminal! To do anything less is a dishonor to them for all they have so willingly sacrificed for their country and fellow countrymen and women.

Please! Support our veterans. Make sure they are provided with proper medical care! Write to your elected officials and demand these men and women receive they care they have earned and need. Don’t let them become a forgotten sub-culture that fades away into the background of our nation[s].

My thanks to Mack for his great blog and faithful support of British troops, our troops, and all the other coalition forces. My thanks and respect for his service as a combat veteran of the Falkland War.  

[I feel I must make a clarification. I wrote this post on behalf of our troops. I did my best to try to present what I thought might be going through the mind of all/some of our deployed soldiers. After reading Mack’s post I decided to re-edit that original post yet again. This time I wanted to honor all veterans and soldiers! If any soldier feels I have done them an injustice, please let me know. I hope I did a decent job. I hope you also realize that none of what I’ve written is intended as anything negative. I just wanted to try to say some things veterans and soldiers might not feel comfortable or advisable to say for themselves!  ….edited by devildog6771 on Saturday 2/18/06….re-edited on 6/28/06]….re-edited on 11/19/06]

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~ by devildog6771 on November 19, 2006.

One Response to “Injured Soldiers Threatened! A Tribute to the American Soldiers and other Coalition Forces”

  1. The Outreach Director for Brave New Foundation is looking for a Los Angeles area person as well as nationwide participants for the Iraq Veterans Memorial project. We are producing a web project that will launch March 19, 2007, the anniversary of the Iraq War. We are reaching out to friends/family/colleagues/teachers/children and fellow soldiers to send us 1 minute videos sharing memories of military personnel who lost their lives in the Iraq War. We will be putting these videos up on our website building an interactive quilt to commemorate the lives of our brave military and have their memory live on. Please see http://www.iraqmemorial.org for more details.

    We feel the most authentic pieces will come from those directly affected by this conflict.

    If you do not have a camera and still wish to participate, please call the outreach director, Jamiah Adams at 310-280-6117 and she can arrange a time for our volunteer field producers to film your story no matter where you are in the United States.

    Thank you.

    Iraq Veterans Memorial

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