Turkey time can be tough…..reach out to your brothers!

I spent Thanksgiving 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, and 2012 far away from family and friends while serving in the US Army.  Four of the mentioned years were spent deployed to various combat zones.

They all bring back memories, some not so great and some of them are my best Thanksgiving day memories.  Either way, they can bring bouts of loneliness and sadness.  Some of which are unexplainable considering I am now typically surrounded by loved ones and copious amounts of food and booze!  Which makes Mike a happy chap!

I thank God for bringing me back from all those times away and often ask him why he kept some of my brothers.  I have a feeling I am not going to get the answer to my every day question until its judgment day.  Having said that, I like to enjoy this time of year as a celebration of that fact he did bring me home.  Not quite the same bloke that arrived at Fort Benning in 2005, but never the less alive and physically in one piece!

Between mouthfuls of turkey, pumpkin pie and all that beer and wine, try not to forget those who made it home but who are not quite fully home.  We have brothers who, this week will feel overwhelming moments of sadness, guilt and, loneliness.  Some will succumb to the demons of war and lose their fight.  Remember, 22 veterans lose the fight every day in this Country.

A simple text, phone call and/ or visit to a veteran could literally save a life this week.

http://www.mission22.com

I am my brother’s keeper!!

Gobble gobble everyone and enjoy the festivities.

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Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13

Sgt Robert Barrett,  KIA 4/19/2010 wrote this before deploying to Afghanistan in January 2010

“I volunteered to put my life on the line for freedom and country. For my fellow soldiers, for my little girl, for my weeping mother and father.  “I am going to a land where American freedom is just a dream, a hope, a slow reality. I am an American soldier.”

Tomorrow marks America’s Veterans Day.  It is a sad day for many of us veterans, it is also a proud day.  I have often, and continue to have those days where I scream and yell at God for sending me over there.  I did the maths one day (gave myself a headache too) and figured out that in a 7 year period of 2006-2013 I had spend roughly 3.5 years over seas on combat zones.  I was drafted, no one forced me to go.  I went of my own free will and sought opportunities to go back again and again. Why?  God knew I was going, he actually came to me in 2012 and told me to go on my final deployment.  He knew I was going to go and he knows my heart.  After all, he created it and knows it better than I do.

Why do I think I have the right then, to yell and scream at him for all the baggage I now carry?  I know the BS we went through, and I know the good and the bad that happened. Much of it unavoidable, but some of it was decided by ourselves.  Remember the ‘free will’ he gave us as a gift!?

Having said that I do and, I am embarrassed that I treat him in such a way at times.  But I know he can take it and I know that he’s ok with it, he just wants to draw me closer to him.   So tomorrow, I am sure I will have a word with him about the whole thing.  I’ll be hunting in the morning since work is closed to observe this sacred day.  Plenty of time to gather my thoughts and speak to him while I chase the ghost like creature I hope to eat for my dinner.  Perhaps some afternoon beverages with a fellow veteran to toast our brothers and sisters, pausing for moment to pray extra hard for ones that didn’t make it home, like my brother in arms, Sgt Barrett.

So I ask you to take a moment to pray for all our veterans.  Past, present and those just beginning the proud life changing journey.  Whether a vet stayed CONUS or was sent with rifle to meet the enemy on a far flung battle field, they all deserve a hand shake, and even a hug.  Even better, a cold beer! 🙂

And for all my screaming and shouting, tears and tantrums; I thank our Lord every single day for allowing me the opportunity to serve and proudly call myself a United States soldier.  There are perhaps something’s I would change, go left and not right for example.  Its in the past and I know I did the best I could in combat, lead by example and with courage for the guys to feed off and use.  I cry and I smile, I scream and I hide in loneness.  I yell out for help and I retreat to the comfort of myself and my self hate.  Its all part of being a child of God.

When a person dies and meets God, they may ask themselves “what did I give back to my fellow man? A veteran doesn’t have to worry about that question.

I am proud to be my brother’s keeper!!

 

 

 

A lost warrior

This is the post excerpt.

What a way to start my first ever blog.  Grieving the loss of another young soldier, taken too early by the demons who followed us home.  My profile picture is of the said young warrior.  Zachary Sparling of Seattle. Washington. An Iraq and Afghanistan veteran who lost his fight this week. We were deployed together in 2010-11 and remained battle buddies after we rotated back to the US. I’m not gonna pretend we were the very best of mates and that we were in touch every day; but we stayed in touch and spoke of visiting each other when we could afford the airfare.  No matter the distance, he was my brother and a small part of me leaves this world too when a battlebudy becomes part of the ’22’.  Mission 22 is an organization close to my heart. Bringing awareness to the approximate 22 veterans who commit suicide each day in the US.  An utterly alarming statistic, which goes unnoticed and, generally ignored.  The daily activities of an overpaid spoilt sportsman is acknowledged and debated far more frequently than the fact that our real life heroes are screaming for help.  Who are too often being drawn into the most desperate and totally heartbreaking decision they have ever dealt with.

My hope for this blog is to bring awareness to veteran suicides.  I suffer from PTSD and have often found myself so desperate I was unable to see a way forward.  Having said that, I’m here (obviously) and I’m moving forward. I still struggle at times, and I continue to see a VA doc for PTSD treatment.  I felt embarrassed and even disappointed in myself when I first sought treatment!  This stigma needs to STOP in our society! I highly encourage any and all of my brothers to seek help if you are feeling depressed, lonely, lost or any debilitating sysmptom. I want to see, I pray to see the 22 daily suicides vanish from our society.  I hope for this blog to be a place of comfort to those suffering, feeling desperate and in need of someone who’s been there.  Someone who still finds himself there!

All things are possible thru God, and I hope you enjoyed my first blog.

I am my brothers’s keeper!

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