No one hates war more than me. Okay, maybe I'm tied for first place in the disliking of war category with two billion others. But you get the point, I don't see much good coming from war. What was it that General George Patton said? "War is hell!"
If that's your motto, I've got a new one from you to try.
Hate the war, but love the warrior
I really, really believe in the above statement. And I passionately support it when it comes to our troops. I'm talking about the troops that represent The United States of America. The US Marines, the US Army, the US Navy, the US Air Force, the Coast Guard, and the National Guard. All of them; as well as troops from whatever country you read this post in. Full-timers, reservists, volunteers, professionals...all of them. Each and every one of these men and women have my undying admiration, non-wavering support, and complete respect.
When I was younger, we were in the middle of the Vietnam War. You think protests and negative feelings of war are bad now? You haven't seen anything. The late 1960s were terrible times to be a soldier. "Baby Killers" is the label that always sticks in my mind. Here was a group of young men only doing what their country asked them to do. They came back home after their service was over, expecting a hero's welcome. Instead, they were greeted by angry mobs of young adults who, amongst other things, spit on these people. Yes, they actually spit of young men in uniform, young men who couldn't comprehend the other's actions.
Love the warrior
Nowadays, the young men and women that serve in our armed forces have predominantly volunteered. No one drafted them, no one forced them to join, no one put a gun to their head. Of their own free will, they joined. Now, perhaps they didn't quite realize just how dangerous their service might be, but they still came freely.
Some will say, "They chose this, they're paid for this; so they should have known what they were getting into." HOGWASH! As little as eighteen months ago, many of them were at their senior prom. Their toughest choice was who to take, or where to eat, or would Dad give them the good car for the night. People occasionally got hurt in their schools, usually out of stupidity. But all in all, life was simple.
Fast forward time: Some have been injured, seriously. Lost arms and legs, eyes. Horrific wounds cover some of their bodies. They will never be whole again. Yet they survive.
Some have internal wounds. Wounds we cannot see; wounds hiding under the surface. Sometimes our soldiers don't even know these wounds are harboring inside their heads. But they will come out; these wounds will rear their ugly head eventually. They always do!
These young men and women have seen things that will never go away. They watched as their friends and buddies died next to them. They witnessed people being blown to pieces by IEDs. They were shot at and missed - sometimes shot at and hit. We can try to understand what they have gone through, but make no mistake - we will never fully know know their plight.
Our warriors need our help
A number of years ago I was involved in a very serious car accident. I had very few external injuries, but the damage done to my back was permanent (as you would expect in a rear-end accident). About 18 months later I suddenly realized one day that my memory wasn't as sharp as it had once been. I misplaced my car keys (A LOT). I would enter a room and suddenly have no idea what I was there for. And one night I actually got lost on the way home from work. I mean really lost; like to the point where I was panicked, badly! I had a mild brain injury.
My injuries, both internal and external, are nothing compared to what has happened to some of our troops. I didn't lose a leg, or an arm, or an eye. I never saw anyone shot through the head by a sniper. I haven't watched as the vehicle in front of me exploded into the air after striking a roadside bomb. I understand, but I will never ever have a full knowledge of what they are going through.
I read this the other day:
There are 23 Military Suicides Daily
This, my friends, has to stop. We have to do something to stem the tide - before the problem takes care of itself, tragically, right in front of our eyes.
I began my first novel, Golden 5 (releasing next spring), because I had an idea to make people more aware of the problem of PTSD. Almost every day I see a news story about a young man who has given up hope and killed himself. Or I read on an online post from a young woman who is hanging on by her very last thread. Family members are being caught in the crossfire. Our young are dying because we don't have any idea of what to do.
They've served bravely, honorably
And now it's our turn. Perhaps you do hate war more than me. I just hope you love our warriors as much as I do. These are our sons and daughters, nieces and nephews, grandchildren, the neighbor's kids, someone from your church. They've already survived the war - Let's make it so they can survive once they get home.
Next week I will tell you how I plan on helping.
Over the past three weeks now I've spoken about Literacy, Bullying, and Supporting our Troops. These are the causes which I proudly stand beside. I plan to help, not matter how large or small, to the best of my ability. I ask that you help support these deserving needs either by purchasing a particular book I will speak of next week or by direct contribution to the charity of your choice.
This is our world. These people in need are our family and friends. It makes no sense whatsoever to sit and watch, turning a blind eye when convenient. By making my plans public, at least I should be held accountable by my readers. And accountable I will be.
Until next week, keep reading - because that's what you're supposed to do during the summer!