Memorial Day is a time of reflection for me. It is when the memories of schoolmates who died in Viet Nam are at their most vivid.
I did not serve in the military—a series of Student Deferments and Health problems took that opportunity away for me. The Army Captain who conducted my Draft Board exam told me that I would make a better hostage than I would a soldier.
At the time of my Draft Notice I was 23-years old and many men much younger than me were dying every day in a very unpopular war. I carried an unspoken stigma inside me for many years because I didn’t “meet my obligation”. Others died and I was safe at home.
My friends who did come home from that war were not the same as before they shipped out. There is no way for a person to experience that level of fear, violence and death and remain unaffected by it.
That brings me to the present day and the ongoing war in the Middle East. John Fogerty’s song below ties in to today’s holiday, Memorial Day, and to another post that I have been working on this week (A Contradiction in Terms).
“…These documentaries underscore the need for the programs we offer as part of our vision of fostering the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation’s history. Each documentary provides a glimpse into the day-to-day lives of these veterans as they face the challenges associated with returning from battle…” —Steve Nardizzi, CEO, Wounded Warrior Project
My ongoing exploration of media has been immersed in the world of Streaming Digital Content this week. The Lioness and I found an incredible series that is currently on Netflix Streaming and YouTube (see link at end of post). This is a 12-part documentary from the Wounded Warrior Project and it shows how today’s wounded veterans are dealing with rejoining society. It is a hard look at the challenges that they are facing and, at the same time, the wellspring of hope and assistance that other vets are offering through this organization.
An individual soldier can fight a battle, but it takes an army to win a war. The Wounded Warrior Project is just that—an Army of Brothers who are reaching out to help the next guy. Our VA hospitals can’t keep up with the number of servicemen & women who need help. This organization is empowering those who get help to turn around and help the next guy.
The Greatest Casualty is Being Forgotten
PTSD, TBI, MST—members of today’s military forces are encountering an onslaught of alphabetical trauma that is just now being understood and treated. It is easy to say that whatever the injury is, it beats being dead. As we see in the WWP videos, that supposition is subject to debate, given the state of medical options and availability to the average GI Joe/Jane.
I thank God for the Wounded Warrior Project and the people who are working there. They are providing services where the government is sorely lacking. Watching these stories has given me a new outlook on the plight of the returning vet and I hope to enlighten others so that we can be ready when that faraway conflict is finally over, over there.
This song is dedicated to those we have lost.