While blog surfing earlier I found this post on a site I frequent.I wish I could say that I was shocked, I wasn’t. A year after 911 when I was still in high school I predicted that the veteran returning from the conflicts which resulted from the attacks would eventually face some of the same reactions the public displayed when veterans from the Vietnam War returned home. At the time I originally said it most people told me that I was wrong, that people at as a whole were better informed about the psychological impact of war than they were in the years immediately following Vietnam. Reading that post I can only say that I hate being right sometime, and also to disagree with the assertion that most people are better informed about the psychological impact of combat nowadays. Since America stopped the draft after Vietnam and our military became completely volunteer only 1% of Americans know a veteran personally. I believe that this is part of the reason many Americans make the lives such thoughtless and hurtful comments. Most of them have no personal tie of any sort to the Armed Forces at all. They can’t see the individual without seeing the group it doesn’t help that armed conflict is publicized more often, or at least a more detail than the humanitarian efforts that are often times carried out in the middle of the aforementioned conflict and often go unremarked. My mother and my father both served in the military at different times. I lived on an Army base for several my elementary school grades. We were lucky because mom was never asked to go overseas, due in some part to the fact that she had a disabled child otherwise known as me. I remember the footage of Desert Storm and Desert Shield that played on the news every night. I remember reading the casualty lists that ran across the bottom of the television screen with bated breath, hoping never to see the last name of a classmate, or even worse recognize the face of a neighbor from the uniform pictures that sometimes accompanied the casualty list. To the best of my remembrance and the things I had checked with my mom over the years, we never lost anyone close us, at least not as a result of what is now referred to as The First Gulf War. To those people who have grown up with a civilian background I urge you to think before you speak badly of soldiers as a whole because you very well might inadvertently be speaking badly of a neighbor or coworker. You don’t have to support the conflict to support those caught in it.
September 15, 2012