Hello, is anyone home? The reason I ask is that I am seeing serious issues are being ignored and no one is doing enough to help make positive changes become apparent.
We have men and women fighting to protect our country and the people who live in it. They risk their lives each day and what do they get in return besides a metal of honor or a pat on the back, with the words, ”good job soldier.”
This week I was driving my car and I got a flat tire. A man came to help me change my tire. As he was changing my tire, we began talking about various topics. During the conversation, he mentioned to me that he was an ex-marine. He fought in Iraq six times. During one of his trips to Iraq, four of his men were shot and wounded. He carried them one by one over his shoulder back to safety. During this event, he was shot himself in the back of his leg.
During this courageous act, one of his leg was severely damaged because of the weight of the men and the shot he got to the leg caused doctors to amputate the first 25% of his leg.
I was stunned the leg looked real. You would have never had known the leg was not his real one. If it were not for his bravery these, men would not be alive today.
And would you believe after all this he wanted to enlist again and continue to fight for a cause he felt deeply for, which was the love for his country.
Because of his severe wounds and permanent damage to his leg, he was not allowed to go back. He was not pro war. He was pro country a cause he felt was worthy risking his life for. I was speechless this man’s bravery amazed me and I was truly honored to meet him.
I asked him if the transition to civilian life was hard for him and his response was “extremely.” When I ask him what the government was doing to help him, his response was not much. The government does not have a lot of help for the soldiers when they come home from war or retire from the military.
He told me he receives about $2,500 dollars a month and at the end of the year, the government takes a chunk back for taxes. Something does not sound right to me. Is this fair? I don’t think it is fair. Tell me what you think. I would like to hear what others think.
He also told me that every night he gets nightmares. The fear of being attacked slowly creeps upon him each night and causes him to wake up from nightmares due the horrible memories of the war.
I mention to him that maybe he should go for counseling or support. Veteran organizations offer support. His response to me was he was taught to be Marine and a Marines sucks it up and take it, as a man should. A response I hear from many military soldiers.
He came from a large family of Marines even his sister was a Marine. Asking for help is a sign of weakness in his eyes, but we know that it is not true. It takes courage to ask for help and there is noting wrong with asking for help.
I mentioned about suicide and he told me it is a big issue that the military ignores and likes to keep quiet. It's real but no one in the military wants to admit to it.
After all this, he told me about how he purchased two new luxury cars. Not for himself, but for his mom and his wife. This man keeps giving to everyone, but my question is what are we giving back to him and back to the other thousands of soldiers out there.
Soldiers are risking their lives each day and they continue to honor their country even when they come home, but what special treatment are we giving back to them?
It’s like police officers, firefighters and teachers, the ones who give the most get back the least in return. Let’s stop taking advantage of these honorable men and women and let’s start working together to give these brave hero’s some special treatment.
They need to be cared for financially, emotionally and physically (health wise). They need to know that they are going to come home to a country that is going to care for and appreciate them.
Let’s put our thinking caps on and work together to create some positive change. These men and women deserve so much more than what they are receiving. What can we do to promote positive change?
We do so much for the foreign countries, when are we going to do something for the people who matter the most-the American people- OUR AMERICAN SOLDIERS.
After he changed my tire, I thanked him for his help and I shook his hand. I felt privileged to shake the hand of a Marine Veteran. One who risked everything he had to help his country.
You know millions of Americans wait hours to see a celebrity or wait hours to get a signed autograph, but honestly, in my eyes the real celebrities are our American soldiers. America, let’s get our priorities straight and lets do what’s right. Once again, I leave you with my final thought for the day. America what are we going to do something for the people who matter the most-the American people- OUR AMERICAN SOLDIERS.
What are you going to do to help these American solders? If we can join to together to pick an American idol then we can join together to promote positive change and help the soldiers receive the financial, emotional and health support they need to live a life that they deserve.
Read my column at http://www.veteranjournal.com