Thursday, November 11, 2010

Taking a moment today

Today is Veteran's Day in the US, when we lived in Canada we called it Rememberance Day and wore red poppies on our lapels.  Whatever it's called, it's the day set aside to remember those in the military who have done their duty to their country.

My opinion of war/conflict/limited police action has nothing to do with the fact that enlisted men and women have put themselves into the line of fire because they are soldiers.  Or sailors. Or marines.

It goes beyond it being their job, it's who they ARE.  I've been trying to follow stories about the troops coming home, specifically from Iraq, who are feeling like they don't belong here when there are still troops there.  Unless all the troops are coming home, they don't want to be in their yard or with their family, they think they should be with their unit.

You can hear the feeling of identity underneath the statements:  I am a soldier.

It's a state of mind I can't understand, because I'm not a solider.  I do know to say "Thank you for your service" but not to ask about their time in combat unless I'm invited to.  I was watching Paranormal State one night when Ryan asked a Vietnam vet to tell him about his time in Vietnam.  I gasped at 23 year old Ryan being so disrespectful.

The general attitude of gratitude to our enlisted is one I approve of.  I've seen people walk up to those in uniform to shake their hand and say "Thank you for your service.".  Seeing the President saluting as the coffins come home is something I find heartbreaking, but important.  I'm grateful that he, at least seems, to have the same respect for the troops that I do.  (It could be a whole sham and doesn't care a lick, but I'm not going to get into that right now.)

I learned that there is a group of vets in Maine who go to the airport where the troops coming home and going overseas get on and off the trans-atlantic planes.  Someone stands and shakes the hand of every returning enlisted person saying "Welcome home hero!".

Some of these old guys are hilarious, one will tell the men that there are phones available for them to make calls free of charge, "and if you get your sister at the phone sex line I'll talk to her."  This statement is met with that great, silent pause before a big burst of laughter at something kind of shocking but funny.

Women bring cookies and give anyone hugs who wants hugs, while wearing their sweatshirts with the photo of their child or grandchild in the military.  Or they wear their baseball cap showing they are veterans too.

For the troops that are deploying, they have a poster for the enlisted people to sign and write messages and give them a care package for the plane ride.

They tell them "We'll be here to welcome you when you come home".

The level of shell shock/combat psychosis in our returning troops is disturbing.  (I hate the term 'post traumatic stress disorder', don't lump it in with a woman who's having nightmares after a car accident, it's not the same thing goddammit!)  I get worried that they're not getting the help they need to get the flashbacks down to a minimum or help them be able to not freak out during the fireworks on the 4th of July.  Because they deserve to not be afraid.

I'm going to take a minute today at 11:11 to be thankful for their service.  As we all should.


To send care packages or letters to overseas troops:

is a site where you can get the address and wish lists of military who would like to hear from those of us at home.

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  If you've had a really big cry and your eyes are swollen, massage ice cubes around your eyes gently, repeating every ten minutes until you feel better.

1 comment:

Cyndee said...

So well written. Thank you.