~It is easy to take liberty for granted, when you have never had it taken from you~
So this past week, I have been trying to catch up on some of my fellow bloggers and their posts. The Jolly Roger I always enjoy reading because he has some interesting things to say, is a veteran himself, and often times his posts allow me to see more into my husband than any book on PTSD or counselors could ever allow me to. One of his recent posts AWOL echoed many of the same sentiments I have had for a LONG time in regards to "sudden patriotism", the lack of thereafter when nothing is threatening us, and the lack of others understanding what Freedom means. Many do not know what the true meanings of Veteran's Day and Memorial Day as the Jolly Roger so eloquently mentioned in his blog...and that saddens me because he is so right. Will our children and their children grow up and have this idea that it's just a day off from school? Or just another holiday that the post office and government offices can be closed for? The sudden onset of patriotism to me, feels the same way as a "Hot Toy for Christmas"or the latest Blackberry coming on to the market. It lasts for a little while and then just completely disappears.
My thought for today on this beautiful day is this: When people hear the words Loss of Freedom, do they really understand what all that entails? In their minds, is it just having our world taken away? Being bombed or attacked by a foreign enemy? Is it the loss of our brave men and women who die in war? What will be taught to our generations to come? Do people ever stop to consider the losses we as the military endure while others lose nothing?
I had a date with my favorite books store last week. I was wearing one of my favorite shirts that said 'My Husband Hates Camels and Sand". The owner of the store is a very nice person and she said to me as I was checking out "I am so thankful to your husband because he fought to protect us from losing our freedom." "I flew a flag the whole year after 9-11 happened" While that's somewhat nice to hear and I am appreciative of the few that have thanked myself or my husband as we have more negative comments in this area than positive....I often walk away thinking "do you really comprehend what you could have lost? Do you realize what our Veterans have lost in the process while protecting you from losing anything?" "Why can't you fly your flag every single day like we do?"
I know that many do not understand.....they don't see how many of our Veterans suffer daily, fighting off the dogs of war in their mind, or how much our families lose in the process. They don't understand when the term "the battle comes home" occasionally crosses their paths. I want to turn around and say to people "are you appreciative? Where is the flags that once adorned your car? Where are the yellow ribbons that seemed to be on every shelf across the U.S.? What happened to the vocal support of our military and their families?" I have been in this particular town now almost a year, and have yet to see one single bumper sticker praising our military, our Veterans or even America. It's quite disappointing.
I know I shouldn't hold resentment towards the non-military people that live in our country. I know I should not be saddened by the fact that the only time the military is portrayed on our local news is when someone dies, a group like Westboro Church pickets funerals, and if a military member who has PTSD goes on a shooting spree. Why can't they just do a nice positive story every once in a while? It seems like here lately, everyone wants to make a huge deal out PTSD within our military by airing on all the stations murders, or murder-suicides.
No one wants to stop and take time to tell the other half of the stories. Was there drinking involved? Drug addictions? Was the soldier and the family turned away from getting help? Was the soldier told of the consequences of getting help so that he felt like he couldn't? Did the military post do all they say they could really? How many people looked the other way and didn't stop to see the signs? How much help was the post giving the family? How much afterward? No one wants to do a story about the spouse left behind after a suicide...will she be getting kicked off the post and how soon? Does she have enough money to cover her and the kids if any? Will the life insurance we are given cover such a suicide? There is nothing because its not sensational enough.....it won't bring in ratings. How do these news people know it won't bring in ratings if they haven't tried it?
I wonder if those who know what the loss of freedom really means to our Veterans? So many have lost limbs, suffered paralysis, been horribly burned and feel they need to hide away because of their scars. Many lost their lives in entirety...lost jobs, homes in foreclosure.....lost their families because of divorce or separation. Some lost the freedom of walking, talking, being able to tie a shoe...all things that we take for granted. We lost our spouses who came home strangers.....our children lost their fathers. Many of us caregivers lost our best friends.We as Wounded Warrior families, know exactly what the term Loss of Freedom really means.
Our Veteran's lost way more than could ever be replaced in a million lifetimes. Wounds seen and unseen constantly leave obstacles in their lives daily, many have lost their will to even feel the tiniest bit of emotions, and many just lost their will to even live anymore. I wonder if people would understand more if suddenly they just lost their ability to love, feel sorrow, pain, excitement and to just even care? Some of ours have lost control of their worlds, their lives and themselves...given up simple things we take for granted such as driving on their own, grocery shopping, even remembering to shower and shave. They lost their freedom of leading normal lives and having normal relationships with their families and friends. They sacrificed greatly so we as Americans can have that untouched, beautiful thing we call Freedom.
Veteran's Day is fast approaching and it just makes me wonder how many people will stop and think of how many brave men and women we lost over the hundreds of years....how many will stop to think of our wounded who are battling so many wars inside and outside their homes....how many will stop to even thank a Veteran who has served? I doubt very many.......One thing I know for sure is this; I understand the full term of the cost of freedom. My children will grow up with the knowledge of why we celebrate certain holidays and the true meaning behind them...they will have the same respect and honor held in a special place for those Veterans who have served long past and in the future...and hopefully, they will pass that same feelings and appreciation to their children. My children will never look at a Veteran and call them crazy or think ill feelings towards them.....because they have had that love, freedom and liberties taken from them and know what its like. They see it taken away every single day that my husband has been home from war.
I would never wish any of our lives on another person, even if they were our own worst enemies...however, I wish just for a few hours...some chosen people could walk a mile in our shoes and perhaps that would give them a different perspective and appreciation for what they do have. Especially those, who think PTSD isn't real, that it's just an excuse to get out of deployments and who feel that what they endure, is what they deserve for fighting in a war. Just a little while, so they get it.....It shouldn't take a major disaster to our country to remind us that we are Americans, proud of it, and that Freedom is never ever free.......
Heavy Thinking on this Monday,
Song of the Patriot
Johnny Cash & The Carter Family
When the Roses Bloom Again