Friday Heroes: Returning Warriors

We rejoice to see the heart string pulling videos of screaming children flying through the air into their returning soldier parent's arms, we are conversely much more aware of the cost of war. The coffins, the funerals, the crowds lined up on streets to salute soliders they never met, soldiers who paid the ultimate price.  We all see amputees and soldiers in wheel chairs with huge scars across shaved heads.

I was recently introduced to 2 veterans. One was a newly returned soldier and the other, a nurse, back from the battle field now working in the civilian world, a double amputee. Women both.

Facebook has opened a window for me. I friended a young marine’s wife. She reposts photographs from military sites. I love to see them, a young wife with a sign “You owe me 1933 kisses”, children running into the arms of their military parents, spouses hugging, crying after months or years apart, lines of grateful neighbors greeting them at the airport. One photograph showed a wee babe in the side leg pocket of her father’s camouflage fatigues, nestled there like an Anne Gedde’s baby, asleep as her daddy walked.  

Another photograph of a female soldier on her knees cradling her child in greeting at an airport had a caption that read “While you carry a $450 purse, she carries a 45 lb rucksack. While you shop with your friends she cleans her rifle with her battle buddies. While you wear heels she wears battle boots.  Instead of makeup that you put on your face to make yourself pretty she paints her face for camouflage. You kiss your husband and kids goodbye for the day, she kisses hers goodbye for a year.”

It was an encouragement to remember our brave female warriors. We remember.

They are all heroes, the mothers, the fathers, the children, those who go, those who stay. What a fine, fine community of warriors and those who wait for them. I salute them all.

And there is another community attached to the military, that is those with invisible scars. You will not see metal limbs or wheelchairs but they are as deeply wounded as any other. Those with PTSD.

Allow me to introduce you to my Aussie friend, my Friday hero. Her husband saw active service in Vietnam. In Australia the names of all young men were placed in a “lottery”, if their name was pulled they went to war. He went young and eager and alone, he came back with a companion, PTSD. They did not know what it was. She thought she needed to be a “better wife”, that she was failing him, he was confused. Life was not easy. They loved each other and that love and the treatment that came late, understanding what they were dealing with brought them through. PTSD was not even a diagnosis until 1980.

She was invited to share her story on the site Veterans for the PTSD Project.  She titled it "We Made It!!"  Here is the link, I encourage you to read her brave, uncensored story in her words.


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