The military machine that keeps our nation free is maintained by men and women not looking for fame, money, or status.
Returning home, we don’t expect a trophy or even recognition.
Upon returning, we realize that the life we have left and the life we wish to return to are worlds apart. Most are lost and without focus. What can the public do to help our Veterans find their place upon returning?
When we leave the service there is a loss of community and camaraderie that we face.
While I was stationed with the Marine Corps recruits, I learned the significance in their approach to training and how it built in on what it meant to be a corps.
For the first three weeks of their training, they break them from the habit of thinking, “I can do this by myself.” This is followed by the second three weeks and building them up to understand, “It’s okay if I accept someone’s help.” Finally, they are formed into Marines by forging the concept of, “My fellow Marine needs help, I will provide it.” Their blood, sweat, and tears are rewarded by being awarded the title of United States Marine and being presented with their EGA (Eagle, Globe, and Anchor pin).
Our nation invests their money, sweat, and tears into maintaining liberty but with stories of how veterans are left dead for over a month in a stairwell at a VA Hospital, one has to scrutinize just what in the hell we are doing.
I recently discussed with my wife about the statistic of 22 a day and she asked, well does the VA cover it up? I wish it were that easy to blame it on an organization cover, but the executive summary clearly illustrates that veterans are 1.5 times more likely to commit suicide.
I then pondered the question, “What if this happened at Walmart?”
It seems that if that were the case, we would have hearings on Capitol Hill, given that Walmart is the largest private employer in the United States.
However, there is a staunch difference; Walmart can get rid of people. The earlier story about the vet found after a month screams of complacency. Complacency that I have witnessed first-hand even inside of military medicine that leads to bad results.
In the military, we looked to our brothers and sisters to find answers that we did not have and did so because we too were being looked to for their answers. When we feel that we cannot approach an individual about an issue, reinforced by the neglect we feel from complacent individuals tasked with taking care of us, we lock down and isolate ourselves.
So, how can the public help? Engage your veterans, whether it be through a charity or finding out in person what they need help with, just engage them.
At the very least, you will get a ‘No,’ but at the most, you may re-ignite their will to move forward because they feel that they are not alone and have someone there.
We were taught to engage our fellow service members when carrying out the mission, make it your mission to engage us.
After all, we’re not animals.