Open Letter to all Veterans of the US Military
Update: With Veterans Day upon us for 2017 I was reminded by Joan Cox that this post I did for Memorial Day might even be more relevant on the 11th November, Veterans Day as I speak of those still living with the Secret Scars of War as well as those who have died.
Thank you for your service. Whether you volunteered or were a reluctant draftee; whether you were honorably discharged after 2 years active or 8 years or 48 years; whether you gave the ultimate sacrifice and died in service to your country or returned a physically, physiologically (or both) wounded warrior; or came home “visibly” unscathed; whether you fought in WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Bosnia, Iraq/Afghanistan or Euro/Stateside support or National Guard/Coast Guard … Thank you.
If you served in a combat theater, and are still alive you probably carry scars either visible or invisible or latent chemical contamination. (That is another story altogether) Some you can speak about; some you cannot. You have seen things that you cannot un-see.
On Veterans Day we honor all those who have served in one or more of our armed services regardless of the role!
On Memorial Day we honor all those who have died in active military service.
Today I also think of those who died after the war and carried the burden of war with them as they lived their lives and raised their families.
My father came back from WWII (Pacific Theater) and we sons only heard the fun stories of the pranks Sailors played on Marines and vice versa. Of course there was more… but for an uncle I would not have heard of any combat missions.
My point is there are millions of untold stories that will die with our soldiers and sailors regardless of the combat era or theater.
Today I am also thinking of the now dead warriors who made it back and swallowed the horrors of war and never spoke of it and of those who will die in the future holding in their secrets of war.
If you have a family member or friend who has been in a combat zone (whether or not he/she has spoken about it) look deep into their eyes then give them a hug knowing they may have "horrors of war" in their gut that to them are unspeakable yet they bear it!
Peace, we have it at a cost.